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Cinema chain to stream new video releases

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September 10, 2012

In another sign that the film industry is rapidly changing, Australian cinema chain Hoyts says it will launch its own video-on-demand streaming service in the first quarter of 2013.

Dubbed Hoyts Stream, the new service will support multi-device access and offer viewers a pay-as-you-go model for new movie release as well as classic films and traditional TV content from all over Australia.

Hoyts Stream will introduce an 'all-you-can eat' subscription model, specifically for movie and TV classics later in the year which will take on established rivals such as QuickFlix, Big Pond Movies and FetchTV.

Hoyts Chairman David Kirk said that the goal is to create a market leading digital movie streaming business, which leverages and easily integrates with Hoyts’ existing system.

The entertainment group has been experimenting with new modes of movie and content distribution and watching some international moves.

Three years ago, Hoyts acquired DVD vending machine outfit Ovie which will now be re-branded Hoyts Kiosk and integrated into the new video streaming service offering downloads in addition to physical products.

The kiosk business model boasts about 729,600 customers since the launch and currently maintains approximately 200,000 active customers overall.

In August, Sainsbury’s signed an agreement with Rovi in the United Kingdom to launch an online streaming platform for film and TV content via kiosks across its 1,000 retail outlets.

Kirk said his company understood that digital was driving a demand for more choices in how they want their movie experience delivered.

Under the digital revamp, Hoyts consumer offerings will now be framed as Cinema, Kiosk and Stream. The group's substantial Hoyts Rewards loyalty program, which features about 540,000 members will be extended to include Hoyts Stream & and Hoyts Kiosk, allowing its customers to be rewarded for any interaction they have with the content on any platform.

Hoyts Chief Commercial & Development Officer Matthew Liebmann said that the company had been assessing a range of technology platforms, “the big issue is how do we connect with our customers when they are not with us in the cinema complex, so we are looking at engaging with them via our web site, looking at mobile apps and mobile micro sites.”

Over the last year, the group has been working to extend the concept of the cinema experience with its ‘Hoyts Plus live’ arm via satellite screens and streams live sporting events, rocks concerts and kids entertainment.

“Satellite technology has allowed us to turn our cinema complexes into locations for a wide range of entertainment, conferences and events,” he added.

In other hi tec news

China yesterday announced an impressive $2 billion subsidy to encourage households to purchase energy-saving electrical appliances including green PCs, while members of the APEC bloc agreed to slash import duties on over 50 power-friendly technologies. China's annoucement came as a surprise.

The announcement from China yesterday was a commitment to a year-long program designed to boost domestic demand for six types of energy saving product including desktop PCs, power transformers and various air conditioning systems.

China's Ministry of Finance told state-run Xinhua News that it expected the initiative would raise the market share of those products to over 40 percent from current levels.

The country’s approximate 130 million desktop computers consume a little over 31.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every year, according to the report.

"The move marks the government's effort to combine stabilizing economic growth and to spur domestic demand while promoting energy savings and emission reductions," a ministry official told Xinhua News.

The subsidy program will help save 31.3 billion kw hours of electricity every year and drive sales of the energy-saving products by 155.6 billion yuan.

China could probably do with a push when it comes to green technology. The nation is still at a very early stage in its maturity according to market analyst Gartner’s new Hype Cycle for Green IT and Sustainability in China.

Source: Hoyts Cinemas.

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