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Apple’s new service offerings may give it a better shot at entering Indian homes

Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade, the two new service offerings from the Cupertino-based technology giant will be priced at Rs. 99 each in India. Both will be available on iPhones, iPads and other Apple products. However, Apple TV+ will even be available on the Amazon Fire TV, some Samsung TVs, Sony and more.

The India pricing for the new service offerings is a new move from Apple, which is usually known for premium pricing for its products. “That’s really aggressive,” said Faisal Kawoosa, founder of techARC. Tarun Pathak, associate director, Counterpoint Research, said the same.

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Kawoosa thinks the move is also in line with Apple’s recent shift in focus from hardware sales numbers to revenues for Apple. Evidently, the company is taking that philosophy to the Indian market as well.

“It will help Apple in selling content and not just devices,” Kawoosa said. This is important since the company hasn’t been able to ramp up numbers in India. While Apple CEO, Tim Cook, announced recently that the company saw “double-digit growth in India” in the quarter ended June 2019, reports suggest that the company still owns only about 1.2% of the market, as per Q2, 2019.

While Apple Arcade can still be considered a new move, Apple TV+ essentially takes on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar, which allow users to stream content through subscription-based services. At the moment, Netflix offers a Rs. 99 plan but that streams only on mobile phones. Hotstar, on the other hand, starts at Rs. 299 per month, while Amazon offers its Prime services at Rs. 129 per month, bundling multiple services into that price.

According to a recent report by Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC), the Indian video streaming industry is set to grow at a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.82%, reaching Rs. 11,977 crore by 2023. Apple evidently wants to tap into that market by undercutting many of its competitors. PwC expects the over-the-top (OTT) video industry to record highest growth rate in all segments over the next four years.

The fact that Apple TV+ is available on devices other than those made by Apple obviously makes it more accessible for users in India. Parag Gupta, head of Amazon Devices in India, told Moneycontrol in May this year that the company has sold “nearly a million Fire Sticks in India” in the past two years. Counterpoint’s Pathak said the attached rate of a device like the Amazon Fire TV will affect the penetration Apple TV+ can get in India. “Content is a real differentiator here,” he added.

The pricing for Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade though may not be as surprising as it seems. When it launched Apple Music in India back in 2015, the company priced it at Rs. 120 per month, which was amongst the cheapest anywhere in the world. The company has since cut the pricing to Rs. 99 per month (for the individual subscription), following price cuts by local competition like Gaana and global competitor Spotify’s entry into India, which charges Rs. 119 per month for an individual subscription.

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