When Netflix began offering its streaming services in India back in 2016, it put a smile on many faces who earlier had to resort to torrent websites to watch popular TV shows and movies. It was new and people were still learning about Netflix, which did not feel the need to advertise itself in the beginning.
Two years later in 2018, Netflix reported more than 500,000 paid subscribers, which was glorious for the company in a market as sensitive as India.
But, in the hindsight, it was not something the company patted on the back for as it was trailing behind local companies such as Hotstar. The reason being the pricing for the subscription plans. However, Indians being, well, Indians quickly managed to circumvent the pricing issue by sharing subscription accounts.
The Netflix subscriptions in India start at Rs 500 that offers standard-definition limited to just one screen. The second and most popular subscription is Rs 650 tier that takes the limited screens to two along with full-HD video quality. The final and most premium plan costs Rs 800 and offers Ultra-HD 4K video content for simultaneous watching on up to four screens.
That said, the last tier is the most purchased one as a single account can be crowdfunded by four people who can individually watch video content on different screens at the same time.
If the aforementioned pattern of account sharing is followed, the subscription cost per head is Rs 200, which is Rs 300 less than the base subscription plan. It also gives the user access to Netflix s 4K video content library.
Meanwhile, there are many Netflix users who do not even go for the Rs 800 plan and still manage to save money. What they do is lending their Netflix subscription of, say, Rs 500 (the base tier) to more than 4 people that contribute equally. The cost per head comes down to Rs 125, which is even lower than some of the monthly DTH packages. The account sharing is among the users is so tuned that each is able to watch Netflix without getting the message of screen limitations.
However, this may soon change as a UK-based company Synamedia announced a new service called Credential Sharing Insight at the CES 2019. What it does is collecting the details of an account, for example, the location, time, and content, if it is being used at more than one places, and using it create a probability score to give away to service providers. The probability score is essentially is the guess of how certain the patterns are in finding a subscription misuser.