BigFlix: For a bigger play

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 13, 2012 04:20 hrs

BigFlicks, part of Reliance Group’s digital entertainment business, has unveiled a new ad campaign to promote India’s first online movies on demand service, BIGFlix+, which allows the user to click, download and play over 500 blockbuster movies at a monthly subscription of Rs 249 across PCs, tablets and mobiles.

Will pricing clinch the deal for BigFlix? Compelling pricing may not be enough given the state of the market as BigFlix continues to tinker with its business model to offer the best possible solution to Indian movie buffs.

The company, which shut down its physical distribution business last year and moved to a purely subscription-based video on demand service, recently inked a licence deal with UTV Motion Pictures to offer popular UTV titles such as Jodhaa Akbar, Wake Up Sid, Raajneeti, I Hate Luv Storys, No One Killed Jessica, Dev D, Udaan, Fashion, Race, and Kaminey.

Says Amrita Pandey, senior vice-president, international distribution and syndication, UTV Motion Pictures, “We are the pioneer of this kind of movie on demand service. So there is no direct competition. But if you look at the digital entertainment (movies) arena then all DTH players would be of a threat for us.”

Talking about watching videos on demand, BigFlix already has a tie-up with Bharti Airtel for streaming movies. Airtel’s catalog boasts of more than 500 movies and 100 television shows that a subscriber with access to an internet connection and a flash enabled device (iPads not included) can watch anytime, anywhere. The service costs Rs 229 per month and is available only to Airtel broadband subscribers in the form of a monthly add-on.

Again last year, Samsung, in association with BigFlix, launched a video on demand service app called My Movies, which offers users full-length movies and free video content for the first 2200 hours. The new Samsung app features films, music videos, TV shows and trailers. It is available for users of Samsung Galaxy S, S II and Galaxy Tab 750 devices.

Says Pandey, “Pay per view and subscription video on demand options on the internet platforms like BigFlix are a great way for users to watch movies at their convenience.”

“We are India’s answer to NetFlix,” adds Shreyash Sigtia, business head, Big-Flicks Pvt Ltd. He is referring to American provider of on-demand Internet streaming media Netflix Inc, which offers its services in the US, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and Ireland and flat rate DVD-by-mail in the United States. The company was set up in 1997, started its subscription-based digital distribution service in 1999 and by 2009 was offering a collection of 1 lakh titles on DVD and had surpassed 10 million subscribers.

Coming to India, Sigtia might have to wait a while before something like that can happen. While India has just crossed the milestone of 100 million internet users last year itself, the number of broadband users is a paltry 13 million.

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