Netflix inks deal with Ambani’s Jio to expand India presence

Netflix has signed a “first-of-its-kind” agreement with Jio Platforms, India’s largest telecom operator, to integrate the streaming service with the carrier’s two pay-as-you-go plans in an effort to increase its subscriber base in the crucial Asian market.

Jio’s 1,099 rupee ($13.2) plan includes a mobile-only Netflix subscription, while the 1,499 rupee ($18) plan includes Netflix Basic, both companies announced Friday. The $13.2 plan provides 2GB of 5G data per day, while the $18 plan provides 3GB. Both plans offer unlimited free voice calls and are effective for 84 days.

“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Jio. Over the years, we have introduced a number of popular Indian programs, documentaries, and films that have been adored by Indian audiences. Netflix’s Vice President of APAC Partnerships, Tony Zameczkowski, said in a statement, “Our collection of must-watch stories is expanding, and our new prepaid bundle partnership with Jio will give more customers access to this exciting lineup of Indian content as well as some incredible stories from around the world.”

Reliance stated that this is the first time Netflix has partnered with an Indian telecom provider to offer the streaming service on a prepaid, or pay-as-you-go, plan. (An existing partnership between the companies provides Netflix subscriptions with the carrier’s postpaid and fiber offerings. The vast majority of people in India use pay-as-you-go phone plans rather than the typical recurring subscription prevalent in most developed markets.)

The expanding partnership between the companies highlights Netflix’s unique approach in India, where the average revenue per subscriber is significantly lower than in the United States and the United Kingdom. Netflix has raised subscription prices in the United States and several other developed markets multiple times in recent quarters, and there has been a global assault on password-sharing.

For Jio Platforms, India’s dominant telecom with over 450 million users, Friday’s action demonstrates the intensity of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries unit’s efforts to outpace competitors Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea. In addition to acquiring the majority of the $19 billion 5G spectrum license in India by outbidding competitors, the company has expanded its handset selection to entice more customers and has recently provided free cricket streaming.

“We are committed to providing our consumers with services of the highest caliber. The addition of Netflix bundles to our prepaid plan is yet another indication of our determination. Our partnership with global partners such as Netflix has strengthened, and together we are creating use cases for the rest of the world to adopt,” said Kiran Thomas, CEO of Jio Platforms Limited.

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