Netflix launches mobile-only plan at RM17 a month

  • TECH
  • Thursday, 24 Oct 2019

(l-r) Wong and Ajay spoke about the new mobile-only plan and how some points in Budget 2020 could affect Netflix in Malaysia, moving forward. — Netflix

Video streaming platform Netflix is officially rolling out its mobile-only subscription plan for RM17, the first in South-East Asia.

With this plan, subscribers get unlimited access to movies and TV shows, though they can only view it on one mobile device – either a smartphone or tablet.

At RM17, the plan is nearly half the price of the Basic Plan (RM33) for home devices. The other plans are Standard (RM42) and Premium (RM51).

Like the Basic Plan, users will be restricted to viewing content on one device, and in standard definition (SD) or around 540p resolution.

Unlike the Basic Plan however, the Mobile Plan can only be used on the Netflix mobile app, available for both Android and iOS users.

In November last year, Netflix trialed the mobile-only plan for the same price. Netflix had launched a similar mobile-only service in India for 199 rupees (RM11.75) in July.

Netflix product innovation director Ajay Arora said they wanted to make sure consumers were comfortable with the mobile experience before officially introducing the plan.

“We also wanted to make sure the cost of data did not end up costing more than the plan,” he added, mentioning how Malaysia’s cost of mobile Internet was relatively low in the region.

During an interview after the launch, Ajay told The Star they had no plans yet to introduce the subscription to other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

He pointed out that the number of Malaysians watching Netflix on mobile was double the global standard.

According to the Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commision (MCMC), 78% of Malaysian Internet users spent time downloading and streaming entertainment content.

Asked if there was a concern that users may downgrade to the cheaper plan, Ajay said Netflix is supportive of consumers picking the best plan for themselves, in order to be inclusive to both new and existing customers.

“Some people prefer watching shows on the TV and high definition, and we're open to the idea that people might want to watch on their mobile in high definition too,” he said, referring to how subscribers to the higher priced plans are able to view HD and Ultra HD content on mobile.

Asked if the digital tax announced in Budget 2020 would affect subscription prices, Netflix South-East Asia communications head Leigh Wong said the issue was currently still up in the air.

“We remit all taxes we are responsible for in countries we operate. The details (of the digital tax) haven't been revealed, so we are waiting for that to move forward,” he said.

The Digital Services Tax will be implemented on Jan 1 next year and affect services such as video and music streaming, downloaded software and digital advertising.

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