BigFlix, the Reliance ADA Group owned online movie streaming and DVD rental service, has launched an Android app, that lets users watch movie trailers, full movies, plays, music videos and short films on their smartphones, reports AndroidOS.in. We tried using the app, and found that it currently only offers free content, and doesn’t offer the subscription features that we were expecting. BigFlix COO Manish Agarwal had told MediaNama a couple of months ago that the company was going down the subscription path on mobile in two months.
The app gives users access to Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada content, among others. Although there is a vacuum when it comes to off-deck (non-operator) mobile video streaming services in the Indian market, setting aside YouTube, we still doubt if the service will find many takers. A major reason for this is the high cost of 3G data and absence of public WiFi. Also, the small size of the mobile screen, prevents it being utilized for watching anything beyond 5-10 minutes. Perhaps, the service will be a good fit for tablets, which comparatively offer more screen real estate.
NetFlix and Hulu are doing well in the US and the BBC iPlayer is buzzing, but we’re not sure if India is ready (and willing) for subscription based Video On Demand services; connectivity remains a big issue. For home viewing, why would someone watch a movie on the small screen of a mobile, over big LED/LCD displays?
If BIGFlix ever decides to add paid content to the service, it is likely that it will be in the form of an operator bundled service plan or a value add to the BIGFlix online rentals service.
A detailed review of the BigFlix application over at AppNama