There appears to be a change in strategy for Reliance BIG Entertainment’s movie rentals and streaming business BIGFlix: a few days ago, the company announced that it is moving its online movie streaming business to a separate site, and now they’ve announced a franchise model for expansion of the movie rental business.

At present, visitors to BIGFlix.com have to choose between entering the sub-site for the rentals and streaming ventures, certainly not your ideal landing page. So those who wish to view video streaming content will now have to visit www.MyBIGFlix.com for video-on-demand online. BIGFlix is substantiating this move by quoting a KPMG researh report saying that on demand media will continue to grow, and wanting to create a ‘more personalized connect with users’ by adding playlists; BIGFlix claims 10 million unique visitors month on month across the world, 5-6 million of them from India, with an average time spend of 110 minutes per user per month.

We think BIGFlix should also rebrand what is now MyBIGFlix, and completely separate the subscription based movie rental business, and focusing more on the expansion of the subscription business, and sharing only one service (rental) at the main site BIGFlix.com. BIGFlix is taking the franchise route to expanding operations from 9 cities with 60 stores, to as many as 150 stores in several Tier II cities, including Jaipur, Vadodara, Surat, Lucknow, Nasik, Jamshedpur, Kochi, Patna, Nagpur and Kanpur, among “many more”. They currently have 10 franchise stores in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh, Faridabad and Panipat and will “start operations once they have their respective logistics partners finalized for these cities.”

BIGFlix has targeted 150, 000 customers from their 150 stores by March 2011, up from 80,000 by March 2011. They’re following two models – Store franchise and Master franchise; in case of the former, anyone can set up a single store in a specific city, and the latter, an interested party can take a franchise of a set number of stores for a specific geographic location. Puneet Sachdeva is leading their franchise operations, and says in the release that 75-80% of their registrations come from the offline route.

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