Malaysians can now join Netflix with a mobile-only subscription at $4

Netflix has announced their roll out in Malaysia with a mobile only plan that suits the very smartphone-friendly nation.
Netflix Malaysia advertising banner
Netflix Malaysia costs only $4 per month. Image: Soyacincau

How does Netflix Malaysia work?

With competition from cheaper existing streaming services, Netflix Malaysia is a little different. The service is only available in Standard Definition at the moment. The service is introduced at a rate of 17 ringgits/month, which is around $4 US.

This simpler, cheaper service is currently only available via mobile devices, such as tablets or mobile phones.

Mobile phone using Astro Go streaming app
Astro Go has claimed to be the top streaming service in Malaysia. Image: Soyacincau

How big is the potential Malaysian market?

Statista estimates the potential market for Netflix subscribers in Malaysia as being 336,000 by next year. However, the culture and type of programmes which are streamed tend to be a little different that in the UK or US.

Astro Go claims to be the ‘best’ streaming service in Malaysia, but this is challenged by rivals such as Viu and Iflix.

Hooq launched in 2015 and combines local and western content, to offer a mixture of media both locally popular and global. These services are extremely cheap in comparison with standard streaming services, costing somewhere around $2-3 per month.

Currently there are 35 streaming services available in India and Southeast Asia, reported by Media Partners Asia.

Two Malaysian men watching TV on their mobile phones
There is a debate about the rationality of Netflix launching in Malaysia as a mobile only service. Image: QZ.com

Why is the service mobile only?

Netflix say that because Malaysia is centred around mobile usage, this makes sense. Around 88% of Malaysians use a smart phone, and 78% are already using mobile streaming services.

However, there are questions being asked about whether this is accurate, with a huge disparity between the most affluent members of Malaysian society, and those for whom the norm is to use lower GB phones on a PAYG basis.

Where else is Netflix available – or perhaps, where is it not?

Given their plans for global streaming dominance, it is far easier to say where Netflix is not available, than where it is.

Countries where you can’t login to Netflix include just China, Crimea, North Korea and Syria. Whilst the service available in each country might vary, Netflix are well on their way to worldwide coverage.

Check out the map published by Netflix below, which shows just how far Netflix are on the way to becoming a completely global service.

World map showing in red countries where Netflix is available
Netflix has wide global coverage. Image: Netflix

What are their future plans for expansion?

Currently, Netflix is available on streaming-only plans in over 190 countries. Whilst the service is not yet available in China, Netflix state that ‘the company continues to explore options’. The restrictions on streaming in the other excluded regions are due to US government restrictions.

Given the market saturation in terms of global availability, it looks like Netflix are now turning their laser focus on additions and subscriber volumes. This includes looking at ways of encouraging more new subscribers to sign up in countries where the service is already established.

With stiff competition from existing services, and new rivals Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO Max, it sounds like this is going to become a harder task as the rivalry increases.

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