Netflix is reportedly planning to experiment with lower prices in some markets, according to CEO Reed Hastings in an interview with Bloomberg last week.
For now, details on the actual plan to test cheaper Netflix subscriptions are extremely thin. Hastings wouldn’t commit to whether Netflix would actually lower prices in current markets or just offer a cheaper option in places where Netflix doesn’t currently operate. He also wouldn’t say when or where the rumored plans would be offered.
According to Bloomberg, the cheaper tier won’t quite be the same Netflix that you’re used to. Instead of just dropping the lowest-priced version of Netflix (currently $7.99 per month in the US) to an even cheaper price point, the company is reportedly planning to test new pricing tiers that would offer different features than the pricier plans. But, again, there aren’t any details about what that would entail.
Still, a cheaper, less feature-filled version of Netflix could make sense in some markets like India, which Hastings noted has 100 million potential customers for Netflix. As Vivek Couto, executive director of Media Partners Asia, points out in Bloomberg’s article, “He’s not going to get 100 million subscribers in India with the current strategy.” But a cheaper service that offers features more tailored to that marketplace could compete better with video services like Star India’s Hotstar Premium, which costs just a fraction of what Netflix does.
Additionally, a cheaper, base Netflix tier — say, one that only offered Netflix’s own series, instead of the entire catalog of all the studios that are available — could give the streaming company a valuable tool as services like Disney+, AT&T’s new WarnerMedia service, and CBS All Access are all looking to attract a slice of the streaming market with cheaper, more brand-focused options. In a world where Netflix will soon have to compete with a potentially $6- to $7-a-month Disney+, a cheaper option to undercut that could be valuable.
Of course, all of this is still extremely early on, seeing as the company has yet to formally announce the cheaper plan at all. Still, given the ever-shifting state of the streaming market, it’s interesting to see that the company is willing to at least consider a change to keep up with the industry.