As Netflix’s Viewership in the US Dwindles, How Is India Faring?

The coronavirus lockdown had proved to be beneficial for the streaming platform.

Netflix recently unveiled an official list of its 10 most-watched original movies worldwide, that includes ones by Martin Scorsese and Michael Bay, reported IndieWire. While it is not very clear as to how many viewers watched these movies in entirety, but the list highlight the films that generated the most interest.

Extraction, the Sam Hargrave-directed action thriller starring Chris Hemsworth that debuted in April, scores the top position. The film earned 99 million Netflix views in the first four weeks of its release, 11 million more than the second-most watched Netflix original Bird Box, the Sandra Bullock-starring thriller.

However, an interesting statistic is that none of the top 10 films (which also includes Scorsese’s much-appreciated The Irishman) has broken the 100 million view mark in its first four weeks.

Extraction – 99 Million

Bird Box – 89 Million

Spenser Confidential – 85 Million

6 Underground – 83 Million

Murder Mystery – 73 Million

The Irishman – 64 Million

Triple Frontier – 63 Million

The Wrong Missy – 59 Million

The Platform – 56 Million

The Perfect Date – 48 Million

According to another report by barrons.com, the streaming platform’s shares are trading sharply lower after hours on Thursday (16 July) amid signs that the company’s COVID-19 driven growth in the United States is coming to an end. Shares of Netflix, which ranked among the biggest gainers of the pandemic, plunged 9.5% to $477.15 in after-hours trading.

The Thursday report is also expected to throw light on the subscriber additions in the third quarter.

In the first quarter, the OTT platform surpassed all expectations, adding 15.8 million subscribers compared with a forecast of 7 million additions. A report in businessinsider.com hints at how some analysts are apprehensive that lockdown relaxations in America can be a hindrance to the strong growth trend.

“Investors are disappointed by the weak future guidance and see the initial boost from the pandemic coming to an end,” Haris Anwar, Investing.com senior analyst, told Reuters.

But three firms, Goldman Sachs, UBS and Credit Suisse, are pinning their hopes on a steady growth for Netflix. Led by Heath Terry, a team from Goldman Sachs expects Netflix to report an addition of 12.5 million subscribers. Observing that the coronavirus crisis has indeed brought in a shift in the viewing pattern, Goldman noted that Netflix has an edge over others given it’s largely driven by new content and a lack of significant competition.

Credit Suisse analysts believe that the subscriber growth will land at 10.6 million in the second quarter. Downloads doubled in India, tripled in Japan, and quadrupled in Indonesia, a SensorTower data reported.

The India Scene

As for India, there has been a boom in Netflix subscribers ever since the country went into lockdown. Market research firm Kalagato had released data in April, which showed that user engagement on Netflix shot up to around 80 minutes a day as of 28 March from a little under 50 minutes on 5 February.

In addition to that Netflix came up with a mobile-only exclusive plan to cater to more people in the country. It also plans to invest Rs 3000 crore in content in India.

The streaming platform also announced 17 original films and web shows that will stream through July and August. Among them are Janhvi Kapoor-starrer Gunjan Saxena, Mira Nair’s A Suitable Boy, Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Raat Akeli Hai, Red Chillies-backed Class of 83 and many more. In an interview with Rajeev Masand, VP Content, Netflix India, Monica Shergill said she is very confident of the line-up. “Through these shows and films we will be catering to diverse tastes and every story is unique. Thus, I am quite happy with the line-up”.

Speaking about whether viewing habits will change post COVID-19, Monica said, “I don’t think people would only want to go outdoors and not spend time in front of their screens or even vice versa. First, of course we would all want to go out when things gradually return to normal. Secondly, the surge in views that streaming platforms are experiencing is temporary. However, amidst all this, I feel people have experienced what premium storytelling is, how different kinds of stories can be narrated and they have explored new genres of movies. I can see a habit forming there”. The Quint

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