Hoyts VoD service shelved
Crispin Tristram, chief marketing and digital officer of Hoyts, will leave the company following the decision to shelve the Video-on-Demand service which he had been developing for more than two years.
Hoyts Stream, was originally due to launch in the first quarter of 2013, would have offered new release films to rent or buy, concurrent with the DVD window, plus library product and TV content.
The launch was postponed several times, mostly due to technological issues, but the project has now been put on ice, despite a deal with digital delivery service provider Viocorp to run the VoD platform.
When Damian Keogh was named CEO of the Hoyts Group in February, succeeding Delfin Fernandez who retired after nearly nine years in the post, he said Hoyts Stream would start in the coming months, describing it "as a natural extension of our kiosk business."
But Keogh today told IF the service will not launch this calendar year. He insisted no definitive decision had been made on the future of Hoyts Stream, although IF understands three people who worked in the streaming division are also departing.
Keogh confirmed there are discussions with potential partners for a VoD service. The Australian Financial Review reported that Hoyts had held preliminary talks with Seven West Media earlier this year.
He declined to elaborate on the reasons for the service being shelved or the status of the arrangement with Viocorp.
Pacific Equity Partners, which controls the funds that own Hoyts, is planning an IPO later this year, aiming to raise about $700 million.
Hoyts Stream was intended to covert customers of its DVD rental business Hoyts Kiosk to watching movies digitally and to tap into the 550,000 members of the Hoyts Insider Club and Hoyts Rewards loyalty program.
But the service would have required a substantial capital investment and is unlikely to have turned a profit for at least two or three years, potentially making that aspect of the IPO less attractive to investors.