"Welcome to Netflix, Sreemoy", said the mail in my inbox as I sat staring at it for a few minutes. It dawned on me that I am now a subscriber of the on-demand video screening service which launched in India on Wednesday, part of its global rollout in 130 countries.
Immediately, the time machine pushed me back to the 90s when growing up as a teen my access to western pop culture exploded with the arrival of MTV. It was then a big deal. Rahul Khanna, Shenaz Treasurywala, Mini Mathur stormed into my drawing room and for the next four hours, for that's the maximum that Doordarshan would allow in 1994-95, I firmly secured the TV remote and cried along as Hootie and the Blowfish crooned "Let Her Cry'.
So, when on Wednesday night I read about Netflix's arrival in India, it was an easy decision to make.
Netflix seems to have done their homework when it comes to pricing in India. Taking a leaf out of Apple's music subscription service, their basic plan starts at Rs 500 per month going all the way up to Rs 800 for premium service with Ultra HD content across multiple devices. What's more, they are giving the first month away for free.
As soon as I put in my credentials and breezed through their personalisation screen for different family members, I was ushered into the library. And I gasped!
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? Check.
American Horror Story? Check.
Arrested development? Check.
Better Call Saul? Check.
Black Mirror? Breaking Bad? Fargo? House of Cards? Firefly? Sherlock? Sons of Anarchy? Check. Check. Check. Check. Check.
Netflix obviously doesn't offer every movie, every show ever made on this little planet but it's comfortably and overwhelmingly more than what you'll be able to handle in a lifetime. Trust me.
And the bonus? For a reasonable sum, you'll no longer have to wait for your torrent to download or cohabit with that feeling of guilt each time you log on to kat.cr or thepiratebay, hoping that the '720p or 1080p brrip torrent' is actually the real deal and not just a masquerading cam rip.
You can also stop being worried that your pathway to the newest movie or TV show will not be limited by whether thepiratebay founder is jailed in a surprise raid in Sweden or mininova is shut down.
Peace of mind, man!
However, unlike me, if you are not a big fan of TV shows, even then Netflix has you covered. From Maine Pyaar Kiya to Piku, Ship of Theseus to Shootout at Lokhandwala, Netflix is taking no chances as it hopes to woo over a billion customers in this strange land where James Bond is asked to cut short his smooch because we Indians don't like to kiss (not!).
The company said it's not censoring Indian content yet but rest assured it won't be long before that policy is reversed. Even if Netflix's shares went up by 9.3 percent to close at $117.68 due to its India rollout, I don't really care much about it.
I'm also not going to dwell much into the fact that they got their timing right with India at the cusp of an inflection point in digital revolution with 4G rates slated to massively come down and with the government launching Digital India initiative. All that will be done in pink papers.
To me, it means I'll get to watch almost anything that I want to, whenever I want to, whichever way I want to (like rewinding every few minutes) and on whatever I want to (mobiles, TVs, computers).
I think that's a big deal. No?
First Published On : Jan 7, 2016 13:54 IST