As Netflix continues funneling its resources to content production and acquisition, it has demanded more money year after year from consumers — some of whom are now beginning to question exactly how much of it they're using on digital subscriptions. After all, quality viewing is available from more places in more formats than ever before and some of those platforms are free. Well, the streaming titan has decided to take a step to defending its budget flank from the competition by debuting a new plan for mobile-only users in India that costs the equivalent of less than $3 a month.
The Mobile plan joins the existing Basic, Standard, and Premium offerings that most Netflix users are familiar with. It offers SD resolution streaming to one phone or tablet at a time for ₹199 per month. While you can't cheat and Cast or mirror to a TV, Smart Downloads will be available for people who would like to watch films in low-signal areas. Furthermore, the company has optimized its Android app to reduce load times and to suit lower-spec devices.
Netflix cites a report jointly authored by Ernst & Young and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry that claims Indian consumers spend 30% of their smartphone screen time on media and entertainment. Streaming of that content has contributed to 70% of total data usage in the country last year. In a country where only two-thirds of households own a television — that ratio is generally higher in first-world economies — the company may have decided that it was pricing out a fairly large number of customers with its Basic rate at ₹499 ($7) per month.
Of course, whether it would be an obviously good idea to deploy this Mobile plan to other markets where screen use and viewing situations are different is up to Netflix to decide.