India’s Reliance Jio launches Netflix subscription on prepaid plans

(Reuters) -Reliance Jio Infocomm said on Friday it has launched a Netflix subscription on prepaid plans, a move that could intensify competition among domestic telecom companies as well as help the video-streaming provider find other avenues to make money.

Jio, the telecom arm of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, said that around 400 million prepaid customers will have the option of availing a Netflix subscription through two packages, each valid for up to 84 days.

One will be priced at 1,099 rupees ($13.23), providing access to Netflix on mobile platforms, and the other for 1,499 rupees, which will give access to a basic package for large screens, Jio said.

Jio’s peers, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, provide subscription to Netflix rival Walt Disney’s India streaming service Disney+ Hotstar through prepaid bundled plans.

“Partnership with Jio will give more customers access to this exciting line-up of Indian content as well as some incredible stories from around the world,” said Tony Zameczkowski, vice president of APAC partnerships for Netflix.

The deal comes amid Netflix looking for new ways to make money as it faces signs of market saturation in the United States, with efforts including limits on password borrowing and a new ad-supported option.

Disney+ Hotstar, which topped India’s streaming market between January 2022 and March 2023 with a 38% share of viewership also plans to limit password sharing in the country, Reuters reported in July.

Disney, Netflix, Amazon and JioCinema are hugely popular in India, which is set to grow into a $7 billion market for the sector by 2027, according to Media Partners Asia.

Earlier in July, Jio had announced the launch of a 4G-feature phone in an attempt to reach people who have not yet migrated to smartphones.

($1 = 83.0797 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Ashna Teresa Britto and Ashish Chandra; Editing by Sonia Cheema)