Apple Inc. is jumping into India’s crowded film and TV streaming market with services that could undercut premium global brands like Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. that are also betting on growth in the country.
The technology giant’s Apple TV+ includes original content from filmmakers including M. Night Shymalan and will be available from Nov. 1 via the Apple TV app and on its devices, it said Tuesday. The service, priced at $4.99 a month in the U.S. and other markets, will sell for 99 rupees ($1.40) in India and includes “thousands” of movies to buy or rent, Apple said.
The low monthly price may help Apple draw users in a market jammed with competitors vying for users driven by the appetite for film and TV entertainment, the wide use of mobile devices and cheap connectivity. The iPhone maker, which includes the service free for one year with purchase of a device, will be competing with some of India’s biggest broadcasters and Bollywood powerhouses along with billionaire-backed wireless carriers, who are luring users with free offers of as low as 40 cents a month.
Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings has said the company’s goal is to attract 100 million customers in India — almost 25 times its estimated subscriber base there as of this year. The world’s second-most populous country is a priority for the No. 1 global streaming service, which is effectively blocked in China.
Indians spend an average of 70 minutes a day on online video platforms, according to a study by KPMG and Eros Now, an OTT platform in India that says it has more than 155 million users. India will have more than 500 million online video subscribers by the fiscal year 2023, making it the second-biggest market after China, the study said. Bloomberg