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Oz cinema chain to stream new releases

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Australian cinema chain Hoyts will launch its own video-on-demand streaming service in the first quarter of the New Year. Hoyts Stream, as the new venture will be called, will support multi-device access and offer consumers a pay-as-you-go model for new release as well as classic movies and TV content.

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 that aim was to create a market leading digital movie streaming business, which leverages and integrates with Hoyts’ existing assets.

The entertainment group has been experimenting with new modes of film and content distribution and watching international moves.In 2009 it acquired DVD vending machine outfit Oovie which will now be re-branded Hoyts Kiosk and integrated into the video streaming service offering downloads in addition to physical product. The kiosk business boasts around 730,000 customers since launch and currently maintains 200,000 active customers.

Last month,Sainsbury’s signed a deal with Rovi in the UK to launch an online streaming platform for film and TV content via kiosks across its 1000 retail outlets.

Kirk said the movie house understood that digital was driving a demand for choice 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 as around 540,000 members will be extended to include Hoyts Stream & and Hoyts Kiosk, allowing 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 the 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 which 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 said. ®

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