Netflix to test free weekend-long access in India

Netflix plans to give users in India access to its service at no charge for a weekend as part of a test to expand its reach in the country, a top company executive said Tuesday.

The American streaming giant, which reported slow users growth for the quarter that ended in September, recently stopped offering a first-month complimentary access to new users in the U.S. But the company plans to keep experimenting with new ways to lure potential customers, said Greg Peters, COO and Chief Product Officer at Netflix on the company’s earnings call.

One of those new ways is giving away access to Netflix at no charge to customers for a weekend in different markets, he said. The company has picked India as the first market where it will test this idea and “will see how that goes,” from there, he said.

“We think that giving away everyone in a country access to Netflix for free for a weekend could be a great way to expose a bunch of new people to the amazing stories that we have, the service and how it works … and hopefully get a bunch of those folks to sign up,” he said.

This won’t be the first time Netflix uses India as a test bed to explore new ideas. The company first flirted with the idea of a $2.7 mobile-only monthly plan in New Delhi before introducing it as a permanent tier in the country last year and then nearly a dozen markets. It has since tested even more pricing plans in the country.

India emerged as the largest open battleground for Silicon Valley and Chinese firms searching for their next billion users in the past decade. Amazon, Google, Apple, Spotify and several other firms offer a range of their services at a much lower price in India.

More to follow…

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