India's Zee Launches Dishflix Ahead of Netflix, Amazon Entry Into Country

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan

The satellite delivered service offers both Hollywood and Bollywood content.

India's nascent VOD market got a little more crowded with the launch of Dishflix, a satellite delivered service from direct-to-home operator Dish TV, owned by leading broadcasting group Zee TV.

The announcement comes in the wake of recent reports that both Netflix and Amazon's video services will launch in India soon.

Despite a similar sounding name, Dishflix claims to be a departure from its future Internet-based streaming rival. Video content delivery through satellite on Dishflix should be faster than streaming as broadband speeds in India are slower compared to the U.S. and Europe. Content for the ad-free service is made possible with a $93 box with a monthly subscription of about $3.

Promoted with the tag line, “India's first home video system”, the service will offer a mix of 50 pre-loaded Hollywood and Bollywood movies which will be refreshed every month. Hollywood launch titles on Dishflix include The Expendables, Rambo, Olympus Has Fallen, Crash and the Twilight series. Bollywood titles include the Hamlet adaptation Haider, action film Agent Vinod and Shah Rukh Khan's Happy New Year and Chennai Express.

Dishflix is the latest local player to enter the market. Leading Indian entertainment group Eros International recently announced a marketing campaign for its ErosNow service. Drawing from its parent group's 3,000-strong film library, ErosNow is seen as probably the strongest competitor to take on Netflix and Amazon, offering premium first-run movies and other content. Moreover, ErosNow – which claims over 26.5 million subscribers - also announced its first slate of original productions which include an Indian remake of an as yet unnamed U.S. show.

Other recent entrants include Hooq, which is backed by Warner Bros., Sony Pictures and Singapore telecom giant Singtel. The ad-free service includes Hollywood content from Sony, Warner, Disney, Dreamworks and Miramax, along with Indian content from leading studios.