Reliance BigTV, DTH arm of Reliance Communications have inked a strategic agreement with UTV’s Indiagames, to provide DTH gaming to their consumers. As a part of this agreement, Indiagames, in strategic partnership with their US-based Ally Oberon Media, will provide the popular games series currently available on PC, Web, and other gaming platforms to the DTH subscribers. Oberon Media is a world-leading multi-platform casual games solution provider delivering global, integrated casual games solutions across online, mobile and interactive television.
The gaming zone will be a move towards monitizing their VAS offerings. Currently, the company’s VAS offerings are limited to its PPV bouquet and an array of free-of-cost interactive features like iCooking, iAstro, iStock, iCricket, iNews. Branded as iGames, Reliance BIG TV and Indiagames will offer the games including leading titles from I-play, Oberon’s publishing division: Galapago, Solitaire (with 4 different versions including Classic, FreeCell, Pyramid and Towers), MOODiES, Space MOODiES, Air Hockey, and Darts, as well as premium 3rd party licenses.Indiagames is also planning to introduce local content including its top selling T20 cricket games and Bollywood games like Chance Pe Dance, Kaminey and Jodhaa Akbar amongst others.
Reliance thinks of VAS has a primary driving force in recent future. Reliance plans to double to current 5% VAS contribution within this year, with iGames predicted contributing only 10% of the total VAS usage. This according to company will contribute over Rs. 1 billion over next 5 years.
I would term it as a decent revenue for the period on something like VAS. But, the main concern I see is why to go for Indiagames when Reliance has an in-home gaming arm ZAPAK, which has a huge following as well as a great array of PC and web based games. Is Reliance not confident of its own capabilities? Reliance which believes in backward integration and has ever since its inception, expanded in backward direction, so as to process crude to final polyster, seems to be shifting from their history. Ideally, I would have expected Zapak to create VAS gaming applications for BigTV, but the move to share revenue with Zapak‘s main competitors in India may actually hamper Reliance indirectly. I may be completely wrong in my analysis, but its very hard for me to find any other logical reasoning to accept this deal. Is Zapak been written off internally by Big Guys?