Netflix Tests Cheaper, Mobile-Only Subscription Plans

In an effort to make the streaming service 'more accessible'

Netflix is wondering whether consumers would pay for a mobile-only plan. Getty Images

Netflix is experimenting with the idea of offering mobile-only subscriptions overseas, as the company says it looks to test ways to make the streaming service “more accessible.”

In Malaysia, for example, a mobile plan was advertised by Netflix at about $4 per month, as TechCrunch recently brought to light in a new report. Usually, a basic Netflix subscription, which lets you stream on one screen at a time—whether it be the computer, TV, phone or tablet—sets you back $7.99 a month in the United States.

“We are always looking for ways to make Netflix more enjoyable and more accessible to people all over the world. In this case, we are testing to understand consumer interest in a mobile-only plan in some countries,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement.

As is, Netflix members with a streaming-only plan can watch TV shows and movies in more than 190 countries. Netflix experiments might not ever see the light of day, though, and can be specific to some consumers.

“… they can vary in how long they last and who sees them. We may not ever roll out the features or elements included in a test,” Netflix added in the statement.

Speculation swirled after CEO Reed Hastings told Bloomberg in November that it would experiment with lowering prices in some markets.

Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief product officer, reiterated that the streaming service’s price could be tinkered with during last month’s earnings call.

“Now we’ll experiment with other pricing models, not only for India, but around the world that allow us to sort of broaden access by providing a pricing tier that sits below our current lowest tier and we’ll see how that does in terms of being able to accelerate our growth and get more access,” he said at the time.

In the U.S., Netflix is still the dominating streaming service, and is largely ahead of other competitors in terms of subscribers, a recent study found.

It has also worked to enhance the user experience in the U.S., where Netflix has more than 57 million subscribers, by collaborating with partners that include cable providers, like Comcast, to make streaming shows from the platform seamless, without having to toggle between providers.

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.