DVD is dead: India’s BigFlix now stream-only service

Reliance-owned BigFlix has announced this week that it will start streaming only,  abandoning its DVD rental service. BigFlix had closed its brick and mortar stores a few months back and is positioning itself as India’s premier online streaming service.

BigFlix’s move comes right after Netflix, the pioneer of DVD rentals and online streaming, which has decided to change its strategy and concentrate on streaming.

This has been expected for a while though and is totally unsurprising. A few months back,  BigFlix became the backbone for Airtel’s Broadband streaming service. It was only a matter of time before BigFlix went solo.

BigFlix has one good thing going for it – its pricing strategy. For 249 rupees per month you can watch as many movies as you want from a collection of 1000 movies, 500 of which are in High definition. Of course, watching as-many-as-you-want is subject to the ‘fair usage policy’ of your broadband.

100o rupees for a broadband service and 249 rupees for unlimited movies – not a bad proposition. Not exactly a cord cutting move but a compelling proposition, which is hard to ignore. BigFlix’s service  might actually kill piracy and cajole many users to buy into BigFlix’s movie service if it is sold properly. This is actually a much better move by Reliance than its earlier moves to curb piracy.

Watching a streaming movie needs at least 2 MBPs to 4 MBPs speeds and at that speed, you will run out of your fair usage limits in less than 10 days. That is a relatively small problem to deal with when compared to not having a pipe big enough to stream a movie at 2 MBPs.

Though India has just crossed a milestone of 100 million Internet users, broadband users remain less than 13 million. How many users will take up BigFlix’s streaming service? That’s something we will know in due time.

Now NetFlix, if and when it enters India, has a neat canvas to work with.