Reliance Entertainment's Amit Khanduja at Bigflix launch at Utsav
India’s Reliance Entertianment media/entertainment company yesterday launched its BigFlix Indian movie-on-demand platform in the U.S. and Canada.
Billed as “Your personal blockbuster theatre,” Bigflix has 2,000 HD movies in nine Indian languages (Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, Bhojpuri and Bengali). Claiming 3.9 million registered users, the eight-year-old service is a leading Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) provider of video content also including short films, devotional programming and movie trailers, in addition to feature films.
“Globally, the demand for video content has risen steeply, and the digital platform is witnessing a wider audience everywhere--including India,” said Reliance Entertainment-Digital CEO Amit Khanduja. “Bigflix will provide high quality video content from some of the biggest banners including Dharma, Disney, Viacom, Phantom, Telegu One and Rajshri, among others.”
Bigflix is aggressively priced at $1.99 per month for unlimited viewing via streaming and downloading movies, ad-free, on any Internet-connected device including personal computers, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs and game consoles. The Bigflix technology allows users to seamlessly switch between such playback devices.
At a launch event last night at Midtown Manhattan Indian eatery Utsav, Khanduja cited Bigflix’s “ease of views” and its effect on the rampant piracy that has always affected the South Asian film industry.
“The ability of having good quality content anywhere, anytime, makes for less piracy,” Khanduja said. He noted that of 100 Hindi language movies released in India, only 10 make it to the U.S.—even fewer in other Indian languages—and that those are screened in a select few cities with large South Asian populations, with only four or five surviving the first week of release.
“People don’t engage in piracy because they want to, but because they need to,” said Khanduja. “They want content, and if they miss a movie in the theater, they try to find it elsewhere. And a lot of movies they don’t get to see in the theater to begin with. So piracy happens when movies aren’t available.”
With Bigflix, Khanduja looks to release new movies to the U.S./Canada market as soon as day-of-release, or two to six weeks after. As the “blockbuster theatre” slogan suggests, these will include the big Bollywood hits, but will also feature critically acclaimed titles appealing to smaller audiences.