Reliance Entertainment launches BIGFLICKS.COM

4 09 2007

Reliance launches BIGFLICKS.COM

Big Flicks Logo
Reliance Entertainment (in India) just launched bigflicks.com last week. It’s great to see big corporate groups investing in new media and internet platforms. However, considering that they have far more financial resources at their disposal, they should hopefully focus on creating great delivery platforms. Right now my initial impressions are that bigflicks.com is a half baked product. It’s still work in progress and will need a lot of features to really make it interactive.

As a long term strategy, Reliance retailing video content is a very smart move. They already own the broabdband pipes which can power the people with bandwidth. Once more home users in India have 1MBPS or more, they will eventually seek streaming video content, pre-recorded shows and of course mainstream films. Currently, the bigflicks site is catering more to Indians settled abroad.

Movies can only be bought as of now but in the near future renting will also be an option. In this regard, Reliance will be setting up DVD rental outlets which will be launched soon. Some of my observations……

– Current catalog includes some of the latest bollywood releases which is great for folks who missed it on the big screen. Great value for millions of Indians worldwide.

– The interface looks so 1997. I want some of the cool web 2.0 GUI here. The top side is that the site loads fast even on a normal cable net connection.

– No flash video??? The online trailers and previews are all in the windows media (.wmv) format. That seems a bit narrow. Ideally in today’s market, any online video should be published in the flash FLV format (a la youtube). It’s a far more democratic approach allowing more people to view the clips directly in their browsers. Plus, if you must launch a movie site which is to take advantage of broadband, why not throw in some hi-res trailers while you’re at it? Give everyone a low-res and a high-res viewing option. Plugging in mobile friendly videos in .3gp format wouldn’t hurth either. I would love to have an hour’s worth of movie trailers on my phone 😉

– The download manager is windows only. As a mac user, I can only wait and hope for apple compatibility.

– All titles retail for flat fees of either $14.99 or $4.49. I’m not sure what decides the pricing for a title.

– It’s clear the website structure and feature set has been designed in a rush. There are some critical navigational and search options which are sorely missing. Eg. if I’m seeing the detailed movie page , I only get the cast, director, producer details below. Ideally the director name should be a link which takes the user to a page listing other movies directed by the same director. The actor name should also be a link taking me to a page with a list of other films in which the actor is present. These are features which are very basic and quite easy to implement. Bigflicks could learn a lot by checking out the navigational structure of imdb.com

– No value addition. The biggest advantage of online platforms is the immense potential in value adds. Eg. on the cast listing for a movie, I should be able to click an actor’s name to get a detailed bio, check out trivia, see some misc. pics of the star and also leave messages in a fans section. Give people a reason to visit the site for movie information and details besides being just a plain vanilla retail channel.

– No inter-site functionality. Considering that the guys behind bigflicks.com also created bigadda.com (an Indian social networking site), it beats me why there’s no cross linking betwen the two. Eg. if I liked a movie I bought on bigflicks, there should be a button there called “Liked it? Discuss it with your friends on Bigadda!”. This allows both the properties to benefit from incoming traffic. If the same company is going to invest in multiple properties like social networking, movie retailing, broadband infrastructure, it makes sense to bind them all together so users have no reason to go elsewhere.

– As the online catalog grows, it would be nice to have a listing of movie titles by Date of release. This allows a user to quickly check for all the titles released in 2005 or whatever.

There are lots of other points which I’m sure can be added to make this site a richer, more interactive experience. Anyway, it’s a start and hopefully they will implement these points along the way.

P.S. I’m always open to consulting them long term 😉

– Amit Bhowmik

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