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BigFlix Launches VoD Service, Anything To Learn From Netflix's Mistakes?

BigFlix, a part of Reliance Group's Digital Entertainment Business has launched BigFlix plus, an online movie on demand service that allows the user to watch movies by paying a monthly subscription fee.

The company that is trying to be an Indian clone of US-based Netflix, claims that its catalogue has over 500 titles as of now and the service works across all devices like PCs, Tablets, smartphones and connected TVs.

BigFlix plus allows the user to stream and download HD content (sans the advertisements) for a subscription fee of Rs 249 per month. The movies are available in Hindi, English and other regional languages. A good thing about the service is that subscribers can access the service on iOS, Android, connected TVs, Tablets and mobile phones, all from a single id of BigFlix plus.

Manish Agarwal, COO, Digital Business, Reliance Entertainment, said, "We are looking at replicating a 'NetFlix' in India. The BigFlix plus service offers a vast choice of HD quality movies across all internet connected devices. For the same, Reliance entertainment has invested in developing the movies on demand ecosystem spanning across product, distribution and content."

Strategy:

Surely, DVD rental business didn't prove to be a viable business model. Earlier, Seventymm, an organized DVD rental service and BigFlix's competitor in India also swung into movie merchandising and launched a beta version of its e-commerce portal for Bollywood buffs.

We had earlier written about the BigFlix shutting down its physical distribution business and instead moving into subscription based Video on Demand service.

Rohit Sharma, CEO (Digital), Reliance Entertainment had earlier told Techcircle.in, "We are attempting to make BigFlix more online-based and want to reduce physical intervention as much as possible. It will be available across multiple platforms- be it PC, mobiles, Tablets, connected TVs or consoles."

The biggest problem with this strategy is that since everything moves online, if you are an existing subscriber or looking to become one you would need a high speed broadband connection.

A lot of readers had written to us last time around pointing out a natural grouse. What if a BigFlix subscriber doesn't have a broadband connection or is not interested in watching streaming movie or go through downloading and then watching it?

If we juxtapose this with what Netflix did and then was forced to undo on the back of massive customer backlash (Read about it here) we would need to see if BigFlix jumped the gun in pushing through its new strategy.

So where does that leave BigFlix's latest initiative?

Even if we suppose someone is interested in the next generation mode of home (or even mobile) entertainment, the additional cost of data download over a high speed network would be much more than what the upfront subscription cost for BigFlix plus seems to suggest.

As a result, the company has narrowed the pool of customers it is targeting at least for the near future.

Last we checked most of the movies available on BigFlix plus have already been aired on the various TV channels (some more than the others), so will customers actually spend (Rs 250 is almost like getting a new Cable or DTH connection) money and time just to watch them.

The fact there are a number of movie channels on YouTube that already offer free movies doesn't help BigFlix's case much either.

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