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Netflix foray into gaming opens doors to India’s thriving online gaming market

Video content giant Netflix is tapping into a new market, and it’s one that can push its revival in key markets including mobile-first India and considering the addition of gaming as a separate category.

Ankit Kanaujia
Last updated: 21.08.2021
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Video content giant Netflix is tapping into a new market, and it’s one that can push its revival in key markets including mobile-first India.

Netflix to offer gaming as new category

The U.S.-based over-the-top (OTT) content platform and production company announced recently that it is considering the addition of gaming as a separate category that will be available to Netflix subscribers at no additional cost. In its letter to investors, Netflix said:

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“We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV. Games will be included in members’ Netflix subscription at no additional cost similar to films and series. Initially, we’ll be primarily focused on games for mobile devices. We’re excited as ever about our movies and TV series offering and we expect a long runway of increasing investment and growth across all of our existing content categories, but since we are nearly a decade into our push into original programming, we think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games.”

The news follows the announcement that Netflix has tapped former EA and Oculus executive Mike Verdu to join the company as its new VP of game development.

Online games to help Netflix penetrate non-core user base in India

Analysts forecast that Netflix’s foray into the mobile-first gaming space will help the company regain its footing in key markets like India. Anuj Kapoor, assistant professor of marketing at IIM Ahmedabad, told The Hindu Businessline: “With the smartphone first move, Netflix will be able to penetrate the Tier-2/Tier-3 cities in India which are not Netflix’s core user base. Numbers suggest that streaming platform users in these cities prefer vernacular and regional content. Adding gaming to content will add these users to the Netflix platform.”

A research report by ENV Media, which analyzes proprietary data from its properties including Indian affiliate SevenJackpots online casino comparison site, noted that an estimated 365 million online players—out of the total 760 million Internet users in India by government estimates—play their games via mobile phones. ENV Media’s Robin Hallengren said, “The report contains both tangible and actionable data sets, valuable for any business with an online presence. Applying these insights to the platform prior to a market entry, will result in a more successful user experience from day one. Our report has been done in collaboration with several operators, one example are Purewin.com

The ENV Media report, which segmented aggregated SevenJackpots online casinos' data of an estimated 78,000 users between January and April 2021, showed that handheld devices have reached 90 percent share. Maharashtra has the majority share of the domestic gambling scene with 16.74 percent, according to SevenJackpots data. Karnataka places second with 9.17 percent, while Telangana is at third place with 8.38 percent. The states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu round up the Top 5 list.

“Maharashtra’s leadership in user rankings confirms the importance of Tier-1 cities like Mumbai and Pune. Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai are also well represented and understandably so, given their high-tech development, infrastructure, and manufacturing capacities,” according to SevenJackpots analysts.

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