'Baahubali' tie-ups can help Netflix stave off Indian peers
Netflix has bought the streaming rights of the Baahubali franchise for a stronger presence in Indian market.
SS Rajamouli's magnum opus Baahubali may be out of the theatres but movie-goers can turn to Netflix as the on-demand video streaming company has acquired the rights to stream SS Rajamouli’s war epic Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, according to a report in Mint. The deal may value around 25.5 crore, according to sources.
The move comes amid Netflix’s efforts to strengthen its presence in India which is facing tough competition from other players like Hotstar, VooT TV, Amazon Video, Sony Liv and Ozee TV. Among these companies, Netflix ranks fifth in terms of subscription base with the American company having 4.2 million subscribers, according to KPMG-FICCI report. Topping the charts is Hotstar with 63 million subscribers followed by Voot TV with 13.2 million subscribers.
In March, Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings had said, “There’s a great battle with Hotstar, YouTube, and Amazon and many others, all competing for a consumer’s time.” This means that Netflix has to up its game to beat competition and tie-ups such as Baahubali may tilt the scales in its favour.
Netflix rose to the ninth slot in terms of monthly active users in the first half of 2017, according to the data collected across Android by app analytics firm App Annie Inc. The rise comes in just 18 months of Netflix's India debut.
Netflix is also focusing a lot on producing its own content and last week announced the launch of two more original series it will produce in India. One is Selection Day, a story of cricket and corruption based on a book by Booker prize-winner Aravind Adiga, and Again, a detective show written by Marisha Mukerjee.
The company will also be opening its first office in India later this year in Mumbai.
“Netflix is very bullish about the India market and is here for the long term,” Shobu Yarlagadda, co-founder and CEO of Arka Mediaworks (the company that produced the Baahubali films) told Mint.
Higher subscription fee is may turn out Achilles Heel for Netflix. Hotstar and other on-demand video services charge aroud Rs 50-200 for a monthly subscription, while a Netflix subscription costs at least Rs 500.
The Silver Lining
Video streaming has been among the biggest beneficiaries of the 4G uptake. Video streaming apps saw a 336 percent increase in usage post Reliance Jio launch. With the high speed data momentum likely to continue, 80 percent of the total mobile connections in India are estimated to have high speed 3G/4G connectivity by 2021, as per the KPMG-FICCI report.Online video consumption is expected to spur this growth, with the share of video in overall mobile internet traffic expected to rise from 49 percent in 2016 to 75 percent by 2021, the report added.