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Pritish Nandy to launch Netflix-like service called Ogle in India; Not the first to try

Pritish Nandy Communications

Media company Pritish Nandy Communications Ltd (PNC) will be launching a service similar to Netflix and Hulu.com in India called Ogle, reports Livemint. This service is expected to be officially launched by the end of this year, and PNC chairman Pritish Nandy claimed that it’ll be possible to stream high quality content on any device – tablet, smartphone, laptop or television – with Ogle, because of the compression technology employed in it. Ogle developer Harshawardhan Sabale, who is now CEO of PNC Digital, claimed that high quality audio can be streamed on Ogle over 2G speeds.

PNC subsidiary PNC Digital had acquired Ogle back in July this year. Apparently, the service is being tested on select networks for the past three months, and Nandy told the publication that at the time of the official launch Ogle will offer users about 150 TV shows and over 1000 English-language movies. He also claimed that eventually Ogle will offer TV shows, movies, music, health and educational services in regional languages as well. The company is currently in talks with studios, production houses and television content producers.

Users who don’t have a Smart TV will, apparently, be able to buy a set-top box and view Ogle content on traditional TV sets.

Ogle had launched a pre-registration drive last month, which got over on August 31. Pre-registered users seem to have been provided a peek into the service, as is expressed by some users on Twitter. The Ogle website claims that pre-registrations will begin once again on October 1.

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Ogle Twitter


Not the first Netflix clone

-Olge is not the first Netflix clone in India. Singapore-based startup Spuul had launched an online video streaming service featuring Indian content in April 2012. Currently, Spuul allows users to stream India movies, including Tamil and Telugu movies, TV shows and short films. In September 2013, Spuul tied-up with Star TV to offer users TV episodes from 11 Star Plus shows 30 minutes after broadcast. It has also introduced an offline sync feature on its Android app and tied-up with TV18 and Viacom18’s content asset monetization joint venture IndiaCast to offer TV shows from Colours and MTV India.

-Times Internet’s online video streaming service BoxTV had been launched in 2012 as well. Last year it signed a deal to feature National Geographic Channel (NGC) shows and documentaries for all its Indian consumers. Read about BoxTV’s other content deals here.

-Then there is SonyLiv, Multi Screen Media’s (formerly SET India Pvt Ltd) video of demand service. It was launched in February 2013. In 2012, Zee New Media, the digital business of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, had also launched an online TV subscription service that offered live TV streams and video on demand content on mobile phones, tablets, PCs, entertainment boxes and connected TVs, called DittoTV. And the Reliance Group also offers an online video content service called BigFlix. Last year, it re-introduced movie download service.

-Eros International had launched its online movie streaming service Eros Now in 2012. It recently partnered Indian MSO Home Cable Network to offer its catalogue of movies and music to Home Cable’s customer base. Earlier this year, Eros had inked a similar deal with Hathway. The platform also started featuring TV content from April this year.

-TV and film production house Rajshri Media also operates a video streaming portal Rajshri.com. It had also uploaded Bollywood films on YouTube for ad-supported free streaming, back in 2008.

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Our Take

The amount of interest generated around international TV series like, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, etc on social media among Indian viewers, who could’ve only watched it by downloading pirated copies from torrent sites, is proof enough that there is demand for a Netflix-like streaming service. The challenge will be in ensuring that every latest TV series and movie is available on the platform. TV channels have realized the potential and are trying to bring TV series to Indian viewers almost as the same time as its US launch. For example, Star India launched Star World Premier exclusively for this purpose.

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