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While on one hand OTT platforms are going overboard to grab more eyeballs, US-based streaming giant Netflix has stopped password-sharing outside households to trap freeloaders! We look at how this change in marketing strategy will shape the future of digital streaming.

Changing preferences

Believe it or not, OTT platforms have suffered losses post Covid due to their inability to retain subscribers. Also, keeping up with a variety of content on numerous platforms is really hard for people. In these times of rising inflation, deciding which platform to retain and which to let go of has become a discussion inside every other household. No wonder cable TV looks cheaper now! Thus, in India, to cater to binge-watching digital customers, DTH services like Airtel TV App and Tata Sky have upgraded themselves to Airtel Xstream and Tata Play, while new start-ups like OTT Play have also emerged. Not only are these faring well, but have also created their own market amid the cut-throat competition between digital platforms.

On the other hand, Netflix has started a crackdown on password-sharing in India from Thursday, a move aimed at tighter restrictions with only one account per household. One is not allowed to share the services with friends or relatives. It has also been done in other countries such as Croatia, Indonesia and Kenya from July 20.

Ground reality

Netflix has certainly taken this step to boost its revenues. The OTT giant had implemented it in US first and gained 5.8 million new paying customers. But when it comes to India, things are not the same, as people have already started posting on social media how Netflix could have increased the premium amount rather than taking this step. There are voices that suggest that the OTT giant can suffer losses in a country that now has the biggest population in the world! Moreover, youngsters in India often share passwords, splitting the bill to afford it all. Will they back out now? Quite likely!

Free run

Netflix’ decision comes at a time when Indian player JioCinema is competing with international and regional platforms. Not only is JioCinema offering free streaming to gain more subscribers in the longer run, but has also brought premium content from HBO for Indian audiences, which one can access with its subscription. Shows like Succession have been trending ever since the launch of JioCinema in India.

At the same time, many have complained that even though the platform was able to get streaming rights of FIFA World Cup and IPL in India, streaming lags have not made viewing a smooth experience. But then, it will only improve in the times to come.

Content amp; competition

Prime Video, the arch rival of Netflix, has tied up with BBC Studios, and launched BBC Player and BBC Kids, at a subscription of Rs 599 in addition to its annual charges. Those wanting to view BBC kids will be charged only Rs 199 additionally.

This also helps Prime to counter Disney+Hotstar subscribers, as it caters to kids’ content from Disney. The news arrived the same day when Netflix tightened the grip on password-sharing across India. A calculated move indeed!

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