Netflix is testing cheaper, mobile-only subscription plans

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Netflix is testing out cheaper, mobile-only plans in certain Asian markets.
Netflix is testing out cheaper, mobile-only plans in certain Asian markets.
Image: Chesnot/Getty Images

Netflix is testing cheaper subscription options in some overseas markets. The catch: The plan only allows users to stream content on a mobile device.

The first trial run has already rolled out in Malaysia, where users can currently sign up for a cheaper, mobile-only subscription for just RM17 (or about $ 4) per month. 

The plan allows users to stream movies and TV shows to one mobile device, either a smartphone or tablet. High-definition video is not included in the plan. The next cheapest option, called the Basic Plan, is roughly double the cost at RM33 (about $ 8). It allows users to watch content on a laptop or TV, but also only streams in standard definition. HD content is included in the Standard Plan at RM42 (about $ 10) per month.

Last week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explained that the company was looking to experiment on pricing in Asian markets. The test run puts Netflix’s new plan structure more in line with pricing options from local streaming services like Iflix, which offers plans starting at around $ 3 a month.

While Netflix doesn’t currently offer a cheaper, mobile-only option in the U.S., Malaysia’s Basic and Standard plans come in at about the same price compared to the equivalent plans in the states. According to Malaysia’s Department of Statistics Salaries and Wages Survey Report, the average Malaysian worker only makes about $ 400 per month. Tying Netflix plan pricing structure in Malaysia to its U.S. offerings clearly wasn’t keeping it competitive when compared to the local market.

Netflix currently boasts 137 million subscribers globally, with 79 million of those users coming from outside the U.S. The company would obviously like to boost those numbers, wherever possible, in a market that’s about to become even more saturated with new streaming services like Disney+.

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