Sunday, June 23, 2024

The lost subscribers of Netflix

Unlike other industries, the year 2020 came as a boon to online streaming services. The covid-19 lockdown helped these OTT platforms, such as Netflix, raise their revenues from people’s boredom. India has a massive market for the entertainment segment. In 2020, OTT platforms saw a significant boom in subscribers during the pandemic.

However, Netflix’s customer base shrunk by 2,00,000 during the January-March quarter and will likely lose two million more in the current quarter. As a result, it is now mulling a low-cost subscription, supported by advertising. But how did Netflix go from being one of the best OTT platforms to losing many subscribers so quickly?

Why is Netflix failing in India?

Last year in December, Netflix India slashed its prices by more than 50% and decided to go local to tap into India’s Tier II and Tier III cities. However, the OTT platform has failed to increase its consumer base in the country.

CorpIndiaNews investigates the problems Netflix faces in Indian Market.


Sports on OTT

Sports + OTT = Lucrative Revenue. It is a simple formula that most OTTs have applied to streamline their revenues. Who would deny a greater audience for sports in India? India is a land of cricket and has an audience for football. While other OTT platforms such as Sony Liv and Disney + Hotstar own broadcasting rights for the Champions League and IPL, Netflix is yet to join the bandwagon.

Not only do these over-the-top platforms earn huge profits by securing broadcasting rights of such premier games, but also the long-term loyalty of its users. Hence sports is the perfect hook for attracting more subscribers to the platform.

Missing Regional Touch 

Netflix is missing out on the regional touch. The company produces/ streams shows that only Tier I and Tier II cities can relate. The shows are mainly for a specific audience and fail on mass appeal. On the other, popular OTT platforms like Amazon Prime produce shows that are more likely to relate to the Indian audience. Although Netflix has a language films category, the company must adopt hardcore regional marketing campaigns to reach out to people beyond select cities.


Moreover, Understanding the craze for South Indian Cinema, many OTTs platforms pulled up their socks to produce films from South India. Netflix India, too, produced Pitta Kathalu (Netflix), Paava Kathaigal (Netflix) and, Navarasa (Netflix), luring users to its platform but again failed to receive any traction. Here, the company’s theory of bringing big names on the platforms turned out to be a mistake, and it lost at bringing thrilling content to excite consumers.

Moreover, many regional players have come to the forefront under this format. These regional OTT platforms understand their audience and create suitable products to appeal to them. Hence, Netflix seems to be losing in this arena.


Coming straight to the point, a Netflix user spends approximately Rs 5000 for a standard plan which is comparatively higher than other online streaming platforms. Last year in December, Netflix revised its pricing plans to woo users from Tier-II and Tier III towns in India. However, consumers from Tier-II and Tier-III towns will not be willing to spend Rs 199 a month when they get better content to watch on other platforms at cheaper rates.

Digital Piracy 

Piracy is a disease that plagues every digital and non-digital platform. However, with the advent of new technologies, the direct-to-OTT release of films has resulted in an upsurge in digital piracy. According to a report by Digital TV Research, the loss of revenue for OTT players in India due to piracy is anticipated to reach $3.08 billion by 2022. As a result, OTT platforms will have to look for ways to handle the digital piracy issue.

Netflix Identity Crisis 


In 2018, the OTT platform launched its in-house production ‘Netflix Originals’ with ‘Scared Games’, which became an overnight hit. During the lockdown, Netflix came up with a series of online content, including shows and films. It released the Sacred Games, Netflix went on to make ‘Delhi Crime’, ‘Leila’ and ‘Ghoul’ and Indians were caught up with the ‘Radhika Apte Fever’.

After its success, Netflix brought more original shows during the lockdown. The situation ‘matched’ the timing, and Netflix made profits. Yet, the company is now caught up between being a streaming platform and producing films on a global level. From receiving an objection from the global film industry to losing its original charm in India, ‘Netflix Originals’ is struggling to maintain its reputation.

Missing out on Saas-Bahu (Soap Operas)

Many OTTs platforms stream popular soap operas. Many platforms live stream these soap operas before broadcasting them on television. Saas-Bahu operas bring score huge TRPs on TV. However, a huge segment of middle-aged smartphone users watches TV shows online during their past time. Hence, Netflix can bring popular Indian TV shows to its channel to expand its user base.

Betting on the Wrong Horse 

Experts believe that Netflix is betting on the wrong horse. The company’s ‘Mismatched’ content strategy is driving users away from its platform. While the company aims to drive a hyper-local audience, it is streaming shows that don’t appeal to a major part of its user base. While other OTT platforms bring up many relatable shows, Netflix is streaming shows made for a specific audience.


The platform has become a classic example of poor product positioning while losing its value day by day. However, Netflix already has a strong brand value; the platform can reinvent itself using its old theory. For example, it can upload popular TV shows from the 80s and 90s, such as ‘Shaktiman’, ‘Chacha Chaudhary’, etc.

What’s ahead?

Netflix has been working on changing its core strategies. In addition, the management has been working on different areas to bring in more users to its platform.

On-Boarding Regional Players 

One of the major reasons behind the decline in Netflix’s strategy is regional OTT platforms. Below is the list of popular online streaming platforms

  • Hoichoi – Bengali regional OTT platform.
  • Sun NXT – Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali regional OTT platform.
  • Aha – Telugu regional OTT platform.
  • Koode – Malayalam regional OTT platform.
  • Planet Marathi – Marathi regional OTT platform.
  • Asianet Mobile TV+ – Malayalam regional OTT platform.

Above listed digital platforms are owned by big groups; however, Netflix can plan on-boarding smaller players across India to take advantage of their reach and flavour.

South Cinema 

India has found a new craze for South Indian Movies. For instance, two of the recently released movies from South, i.e. RRR and KGF, have done exceptionally well in the BoxOffice. Therefore, Netflix can take the new trend and bring good South Indian movies on its platform.


Like other online streaming services, Netflix, too, can bring advertisers on its platform to cut down its prices further and revamp its revenue model.

While other streaming media companies already have advertisers under its revenue model, Netflix had kept them off since its inception. But now, the OTT platform is giving in to the preasure and is working on a similar model as Youtube Original by offering an ad-free version at premium rates.

PW sharing

Netflix has finally decided to take strict action against the practice of PW sharing. The company will not immediately freeze accounts sharing passwords but will charge an extra fee to such accounts. This step will help Netflix to shed all the free watchers from its platform and keep its loyal audience on board.

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