Netflix inks deal with Pakistan telecom PTCL

Pakistan’s PTCL has signed a partnership agreement with Netflix for the Pakistan market, with each said saying they’ll “use their respective resources for mutual benefit, utilizing and maximizing the viewing experience and penetration of Netflix services in Pakistan.”

PTCL becomes the only service provider in Pakistan with advanced caching servers and technical pairing with Netflix to offer the superior viewing experience since Netflix’s global launch in January 2016, PTCL said, adding that the agreement will “serve as a way forward for both PTCL and Netflix to provide digital content fans in Pakistan with Netflix streaming.”

PTCL said it will support and promote original Netflix content in Pakistan.

“Digital entertainment is PTCL’s key priority and our partnership with Netflix is another step in this direction,” said PTCL’s Chief Commercial Officer, Adnan Shahid. “We look forward to working with Netflix to offer new and exciting services including world class Netflix original series and movies in Pakistan.”

Netflix launched in Pakistan in January 2016, and, as elsewhere in most of APAC, is seen as an expensive luxury, especially when the cost of a full pay-TV service is about US$4.77. Netflix, meanwhile, starts at PKR800, or US$7.63 for its basic service.

But the deal gives Netflix a strong backer in Pakistan, originally one of Pakistan’s state-owned corporations, and still the largest telecom company in the country with a nationwide network that delivers telephone and Internet services and serves as the backbone for Pakistan’s telecom infrastructure. The company has been pressed lately by a raft of competitors including Telenor and China Mobile, but maintains a strong position because of its legacy status.

It has a growing mobile presence in the form of ufone.

PTCL also has been in the pay-TV business since 2008 with its IPTV service, Smart TV. The service is delivered over PTCL’s broadband network and includes a four-day catch-up TV play, more than 140 live channels and some 2,000 hours of content through its VOD service. Smart TV is available in more than 150 cities and PTCL is planning to expand to all remaining cities and towns across the country during the coming years.

That not only makes Netflix ubiquitous in most of Pakistan, but sets it up for potential delivery inside PCTL’s Smart TV offering along with, potentially, service provider billing.

Pakistan has some 21.1 million TV households and an estimated 29.1 million Internet users; recent data from CASBAA shows the pay-TV market with HH penetration of better than 50% of TV HHs.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn