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Apple TV+ at Rs 99 per month: Why low pricing may cause Netflix, Hotstar headache in India

Shubham Verma

Apple at its iPhone 11 event delivered a huge blow to Netflix by announcing that its streaming service Apple TV+ will cost Rs 99 per month in India. This is Rs 100 less than the recently introduced mobile-only plan by Netflix, worth Rs 199; Rs 400 less than the basic plan offering SD content, Rs 550 less than the standard plan offering HD content, and Rs 700 less than the 4K tier. The Apple TV+ subscription will also be available to all buyers of this year's iPhone and iPad models for one year without any charges, which saves around Rs 1,200 - Rs 400 more than Netflix's high-end plan. Apple TV+ will be released in India and elsewhere on November 1 with the first batch of original shows, while a new TV show will be added every month.

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Apple TV+ will be available with a free trial of seven days, which is around 23 days less than what it is the US. However, the pricing for Apple TV+ in the US is $4.99, which translates to roughly Rs 350. The Apple TV+ can be accessed on all Apple devices, including iPhone running iOS 12.3 or later, iPod touch running iOS 12.3 or later, iPad running iPadOS, Mac running macOS Catalina, and Apple TV running tvOS 12.3 or later. Users can also log into their Apple account on Chrome and Firefox browsers to watch Apple TV+ content. Now that Apple supports major TV brands, the Apple TV+ can be accessed on Samsung, Sony, LG TVs, in addition to Amazon Fire TV Stick.

The aggressive pricing, which can only be a result of the huge pressure Apple has been undergoing in markets including India, may enable Apple TV+ wedge into the country's streaming market that is mushrooming by the day. A PwC report said that the OTT industry in India is en route to generate a revenue of Rs 11,977 crore by 2023 at a CAGR of 21.82 per cent. Over the last few years, major streaming services have set their foot in India to tap into troves of uncharted consumers. Apple slashed the pricing for its Apple Music streaming services to start at Rs 99, as opposes to Rs 120, per month after Spotify and YouTube Music entered the market.

The biggest streaming platform Netflix recently introduced its cheapest mobile-only plan to attract customers in India, who have shied away, owing to high pricing of the Los Gatos-headquartered company's services. The mobile-only plan costs Rs 199 and allows streaming on one device, either a smartphone or a tablet.

Meanwhile, Apple TV+ brings original programmings featuring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Momoa, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Carell, and more at Rs 99 for family. Users will be able to stream content on up to six devices at any given time. Netflix offers streaming on four concurrent screens under its high-end plan that costs Rs 799 in India.

Hotstar, which costs Rs 999, will also likely face the heat of the Apple TV+. Hotstar is the most popular streaming app in India, raking in the highest number of concurrent viewership on cricket matches, the streaming rights to which are owned by the Walt Disney-owned app. Its monthly tier costs Rs 299 while the Hotstar VIP, which strips the user's access of the English content, is priced at Rs 399 per year.

Amazon Prime Video is another close competitor, costing Rs 129 monthly and Rs 999 annually. However, Prime Video is a part of the Prime membership that also includes Prime Music, Prime Delivery, Prime Reading, and more.