In a bid to make its services affordable in certain emerging markets, Netflix is reportedly testing a new lower-priced subscription tier across several Asian countries. The entry-level plan was spotted in Malaysia and sits right below the Basic plan with support for streaming only on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The new Netflix Mobile plan costs MYR 17 (~$4.06) a month in the country, which is about half of Netflix's next tier that currently costs MYR 33 (~$7.88). Like the Basic plan, the newly introduced mobile-only subscription limits concurrent streaming to a single screen and video quality to standard definition. While this plan was spotted only in Malaysia, the streaming service is reportedly testing similar offerings in many more markets on the continent.
The development comes on the heels of a recent market trend of smartphones becoming the primary screen for media consumption in developing countries. The California-based company is certainly aiming to gain a foothold in this section of the market and the new introductory plan could play a crucial role in that process. Netflix's rigid pricing structure isn't particularly affordable for many people around the globe, leaving the streaming service accessible only to the high-paying customer base in those markets. This notion is usually prevalent in mobile-only markets of Asia and Africa and the new Mobile plan should make Netflix accessible to a wider section of the price-sensitive countries, helping the company grow its global footprint.
The cheaper subscription plan is currently under testing in a small number of markets and Netflix may not necessarily make it a permanent tier in all locations. The company continuously tests similar features and subscription plans in different countries to gauge customer reaction before making any substantial changes to its services. A large portion of Netflix's total subscriber base of 139 million lies outside the U.S. where the company faces fierce competition from multiple local streaming services offering an extensive portfolio of regional content, often at a significantly lower price. With a mix of an increased supply of locally produced content and a lower-tier subscription plan, Netflix is now marching toward a 200-million subscriber count.