Cinema operator Hoyts will launch a multi-platform film and TV internet streaming service next year.
The launch of the all-you-can-eat Hoyts Stream service will put the major cinema chain in direct competition with established online players such as Telstra's Big Pond Movies, Apple TV and Quickflix.
The new service is aimed at getting a foot in the door of the burgeoning digital sales market as audiences viewing habits change.
“Australians are growing more and more demanding in how they want their movie experience delivered,” Hoyts chairman David Kirk said in a statement. “The convergence of entertainment and technology is exciting. The change in audiences has inspired us to harness digital platforms so as to provide our customers choice for how they consume filmed entertainment from Hoyts, be it on the big screen, small screen or now any screen.”
The government recently released a convergence review report as it attempts to overhaul the current regulatory environment as audiences watch an increasing amount of content on new devices such as smart phones and tablets.
Hoyts Corporation will ultimately be comprised of three divisions: Cinema, Kiosk and Stream. Its cinema chain is one of the strongest in Australia – it attracts 18 million admissions per year through its cinemas (of which 547,000 are members of their loyalty programs) while its DVD rental kiosk business, Oovie, maintains 200,000 active members.
Oovie will be rebranded as Hoyts Kiosk from October. The Hoyts Rewards program, currently offered to cinema customers, will be extended to the Stream and Kiosk division customers.