Netflix launches $4 mobile-only monthly plan in Malaysia


Netflix is ready to take its lower-cost, mobile-only plan beyond India as it looks to expand the reach of its service in other international markets. The American on-demand video streaming giant launched a new price tier for users in Malaysia that would allow people in the nation to access the video service for RM 17 ($4) a month.

The new tier, which is being offered alongside existing regular monthly plans that start from $7.8, limits access to Netflix on just one mobile device and in lower video quality (standard definition, ~480p).

The company, which began testing cheaper mobile plans last year in many markets including Malaysia, said it is hopeful that its new plan would “broaden access to Netflix in this truly mobile-first nation.” More than 88% of people in Malaysia own a smartphone and 78% of internet users in the Southeast Asian nation — home to roughly 32 million people — spend time streaming and downloading entertainment, according to industry estimates.

In a statement, Ajay Arora, Director of Product Innovation at Netflix, said, “our members in Malaysia love to watch shows on their smartphones and tablets. With the first-ever Mobile plan in Southeast Asia, all of Netflix’s shows and movies will be even more accessible for Malaysians to stream and download.”

Like in India, Netflix competes with a range of aggressively priced services such iFlix, Dimsum, playTV, and Astro Go in Malaysia. In Malaysia, too, the company has invested in producing original content to better serve the local consumers. Upcoming series The Ghost Bride was filmed and produced in Malaysia. Comedy series Polis Evo and Jagat have also been popular among users in the nation.

As we have argued in the past, Netflix’s standard pricing has limited its reach in many parts of the world, especially since a number of rivals are offering their services at lower cost. And the company is increasingly admitting this. During its quarterly earnings call last week, the company executives noted that it was “pleased” with the way its mobile-only plan that it launched in India was gaining adoption in the nation.

“Our approach with pricing is to grow revenue and so far, uptake and retention on our mobile plan in India has been better than our initial testing suggested. This will allow us to invest more in Indian content to further satisfy our members. While still only a very small percentage of our total subscriber base, we’re continuing to test mobile-only plans in other markets,” they said.

Greg Peters, chief product officer at Netflix, said the company was exploring more plan structures and “feature value benefits” in other different markets to see how the audiences react to them.

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