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Video Ezy

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Video Ezy

Video Ezy
Type Subsidiary
Industry Home Entertainment
Founded 1983
Headquarters Suite 5, Level 9, 1 Rider Boulevard, Rhodes, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Area served Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
Key people Paul Uniacke (CEO) and Edward Nedelko (Company Director)
Products Retailing and renting of DVD, Blu-ray, Video Games, and Digital content
Parent Franchise Entertainment Group
Website VideoEzy.com.au

Video Ezy is an Australian-based rental and retail chain offering DVD, Blu-ray and Games. With approximately 130 franchised stores within Australia. In addition, it also contains 111 stores in New Zealand, 65 in Thailand, 64 in Indonesia, 15 in Singapore, and 5 in Malaysia.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Contents

  • History 1
  • Marketing 2
  • Industrial relations 3
  • Competition and threats 4
  • Presence in other countries 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

History

A Video Ezy outlet in Lygon Street, Brunswick East, an inner suburb of Melbourne. This store converted its franchise to Network Video in August 2013.

Video Ezy commenced trading in 1983, when Kevin Slater opened his first store in the Sydney suburb of Hurstville renting out a small selection of VHS and Betamax format movies. The first franchised store opened in September 1984 at Miranda. The franchisees at Miranda were Peter McLaughlin and Bill Coe who continue to own this store today. Other stores to open in quick succession were in the Sydney suburbs of Bankstown, Liverpool and Chatswood. In the majority of these stores, Kevin funded 50% of the capital required to open. By 1986, Video Ezy comprised 18 stores, and by August 1987, there were 34 stores located across New South Wales and Queensland.[7] Expansion followed throughout other Australian states before opening its first international location in Auckland, New Zealand in 1988, with the Master Licence commencing in 1991 under Video Ezy International. In March 1999, Video Ezy Australasia Pty Ltd expanded into the Asian market with its first outlet opening in Bangkok, Thailand.[1][8]

In late 2000, Video Ezy introduced EzyRetail, a video store specific point of sale Windows-based system exclusively used by Video Ezy. The software was first developed by Radek Soucek and Robert Gongorra and allowed information to be centrally created and pushed down the line to stores, both as real-time and locally stored data. It provided comprehensive reporting capabilities, inventory management and collection abilities, giving the store network one of the most comprehensive databases in retail history. This new system replaced VideoMinder, a then DOS-based system once used by Blockbuster and some older Video Ezy franchisees.[8]

In 2001, the first Video Ezy outlet opened in Singapore within the Jelita Shopping Centre. Since then, the Singapore network has comprised a mixture of corporate-owned and franchised stores located in either outdoor shopping strips like, Holland Village, residential towers such as, International Plaza, or large shopping centres such as, VivoCity. Unlike Australia, Video Ezy Singapore can operate in most shopping centres due to 7-day-week late night shopping hours and its population less reliant on private automobiles needing to park outside stores.[5][9]

In 2003, Video Ezy sold its corporate-owned stores in Australia leaving only 2 stores - Narellan and Rosehill, some 10 minutes from its new Head Office at Rhodes - although in 2006 it had acquired additional corporate-owned stores. In 2003 Video Ezy also went on to market a subscription model with DVD Unlimited (not associated with the New Zealand company with the same name). Also in that year, Video Ezy commenced selling and renting 'Ezy Exclusive' TV series and movies on DVD such as, Dinotopia, Kingpin, Will & Grace, Taken, The Believer and other exclusive titles from Hallmark Entertainment and NBC. These titles were usually branded with Video Ezy's logo and carried slightly different artwork to DVDs sold outside the Region 4 market ('Ezy Exclusives' were phased out in 2006).[1][8]

In August 2005, business partners, Paul Uniacke and Edward Nedelko - who between them owned 24 Video Ezy franchises in Victoria - purchased the shares held in Video Ezy Australasia Pty Ltd by Perpetual Trustees and Ivany Investments to become majority shareholders in the company. They replaced Robert Maidment as Executive Chairman. At that stage Video Ezy-branded outlets numbered, 560 in Australia, 156 in New Zealand, 128 in Thailand, 135 in Indonesia, 19 in Singapore, 9 in Malaysia, 1 in Fiji and 1 in the United Arab Emirates.[10][11]

A Video Ezy outlet within Centro Glenorchy, a shopping centre in the northern suburbs of Hobart. This store closed in October 2013.

In February 2007, Blockbuster, seeking to rationalise its international operations and concentrate on its home United States market, sold its entire Australian store network to Video Ezy Australasia Pty Ltd. At the time, Blockbuster Australia comprised 370 outlets nationwide - 29 owned by the company and 341 owned by franchisees. Video Ezy had 518 Australian outlets, all of them being owned by franchisees, pushing the combined group's market share to 40% of the country's video rental sector. Video Ezy committed to the master franchise agreement with Blockbuster for 10 years operating the brand with the possibility of renewal for a further 10 years after that. As a consequence of the deal, the company changed its name from Video Ezy Australasia Pty Ltd to Franchise Entertainment Group.[12][13][14]

In January 2009, Franchise Entertainment Group bought failed video retail (non-rental) chain, EzyDVD from receivers, Ferrier Hodgson, for an estimated $10 million. The transaction included, the EzyDVD brand and online business, the 25-store franchise network, in addition to stock, plant, equipment and the remaining 11 company-owned stores. FEG CEO Paul Uniacke said to the media after the deal, "We don't have video rental stores in high-traffic areas such as the major malls because you can't rent a DVD and the next day just easily park your car and return to it. The EzyDVD stores are in all the major mall chains and this cements us well and truly in this market." Soon after, EzyDVD's head office, warehouse and distribution facility in Torrensville closed, and currently (as of October 2012), only 3 branded stores remain in Launceston, Browns Plains and Elizabeth. Most of its sales are now generated from the website.[15][16]

In August 2010, Paul Uniacke and Edward Nedelko's other company, Surrealus, bought the failed entertainment group, Élan Media Partners. Uniacke and Nedelko also arranged for the transfer of the Video Ezy Australia, Blockbuster Australia and EzyDVD online businesses from FEG to Élan Media Partners, leaving FEG to manage the franchise relationships with individual Video Ezy/Blockbuster outlets and the three remaining EzyDVD-branded stores.[17][18][19]

In May 2011, a new loyalty card branded as, Flash Rewards, was introduced by Video Ezy (superseding DVD Unlimited), offering customers who sign-up and pay a fee, discounts and extended services in all participating Video Ezy stores. This allows customers to upgrade their basic rental membership, with Paul Uniacke adding, "when someone joins Flash Rewards, they can then rent from any participating Video Ezy store and access their Flash benefits without the need to sign up with each store every time." In addition, Flash Rewards offered discounts from partner companies such as, Donut King, Eagle Boys Pizza, AMF Bowling, Anytime Fitness, ACP Magazines, and 25% off cinema ticket prices at, Village Cinemas, Event Cinemas/Greater Union/Birch Carroll & Coyle, Hoyts, Reading Cinemas, Wallis Cinemas, Dendy, and Palace Cinemas.[20][21][22] However, the deals involving outside partner companies ended in early 2013.[23]

A Video Ezy outlet on Melton Highway, Hillside, a north-western suburb of Melbourne. This store converted its franchise to Network Video in December 2012.

In June 2011, a select group of Video Ezy/Blockbuster franchises incorporated Metcash's Lucky 7 convenience stores stocking more than 500 different products including, newspapers, bread, milk and various snacks. If deemed successful, Lucky 7 could roll out nationally across Video Ezy and Blockbuster's 650 store network.[24][25][26]

In October 2011, it was announced that former chief executive of Video Ezy and their largest franchisee, Daryl McCormack, would partner his 15 stores with Franchised Food Company's Cold Rock Ice Creamery to open smaller, Express oulets within stores becoming dual franchises. The first Video Ezy/Cold Rock Express outlet reopened in Kew, Melbourne, to dollar-for-dollar sales with the core business of video rental and retail. This concept has also extended to McCormack's co-owned chain, Souvlaki Hut (now Souv Hut), with point-of-sale systems being updated to combine sales from both video and ice cream, or souvlaki meals and ice cream. Like the Lucky 7 deal before it, Franchised Food Company is offering Cold Rock Express outlets to other Video Ezy/Blockbuster franchisees wishing to diversify their business.[27][28][29]

In November 2011, Video Ezy found itself embroiled in a social media backlash when it refused to end its long-term sponsorship with Southern Cross Austereo's networked radio program, Take40 Australia, after its co-host, Kyle Sandilands made sexist comments about a News Limited journalist on his 2Day FM breakfast program, The Kyle and Jackie O Show. Even though the comments were made on another program and Video Ezy having the added complication of being a naming rights sponsor of Take40 Australia, complaints piled up on its Facebook page to such an extent that after a month the brand was forced to pull advertising from the show temporarily during the summer.[30][31] Sandilands was removed as co-host of Take40 Australia during this period, and Video Ezy continues to sponsor the program.

In December 2011, Franchise Entertainment Group switched on its first Video Ezy Express DVD and Blu-ray rental kiosk after announcing their roll-out in May that year. FEG bought 1,000 DVD kiosks through US company, NCR Corporation for $2 million with Uniacke adding, "we're looking to get to 3,000 within three years. I'm looking to own the market within a two-year period." Video Ezy Express kiosks can be purchased from FEG by local Video Ezy/Blockbuster franchisees and located in high foot-traffic areas like shopping centres and supermarkets. For these franchisees, overheads are low as rent for 2m×2m blocks of space is significantly less than shops with large floor space. There are no staff wages to pay and once the system is set up, they are self-sufficient. For consumers, prices to rent are much lower, no membership cards are required, there are no late fees (just a nightly flat rate), and DVDs and Blu-rays can be returned to any kiosk machine nationwide. Video Ezy/Blockbuster Express currently competes in Australia and New Zealand with the 300+ Hoyts Kiosk network. They also competed with approximately 100 RedRoom kiosks for the first month until FEG acquired the entire seven-year-old business, taking out a significant competitor while adding capacity.[32][33][34][35]

Marketing

The current red-coloured Video Ezy logo used in New Zealand that is slightly different from orange-coloured logos used in other markets except Indonesia (that logo uses less shadowing). The slogan used in NZ reads, *We heart movies. All logo's 'asterisks' are actually the spool from inside a VHS tape.[8]

In 1993, the Get it first time, or get it free was launched. Video Ezy re-launched their guarantee under the "Movie Guarantee" umbrella in April 2007. This includes Rental Guarantee, Price Guarantee and an Ex-Rental Guarantee.

Video Ezy utilises rent-only releases with the "Rent It - The Only Way To Get It" campaign. Another advertising campaign used by Video Ezy is "Upsize Your Entertainment" - when a consumer rents a specific title they have the opportunity to upsize by buying a specified similar title for only $4.95 - in April 2007, Video Ezy had Charlotte's Web as the rental title & Paulie as the upsize title.

Slogans include:

  • "In the Mood"
  • "Ezy does it" - Used since October 2003.
  • "The choice is Ezy"
  • "Get it first time, or get it free" - Defunct, being re-released in April 2007.
  • "We have so many copies of our Rental Guarantee title, we guarantee you'll rent it now, or rent it free" - Video Ezy Rental Guarantee as of April 2007.
  • "Love Movies" - Used since 2009.
  • "More to Love" - Current Australia slogan expanded from "Love Movies" to be more inclusive of other products in store.
  • "*We heart movies" - Current New Zealand slogan since November 2009.
  • "Rent it. Buy it." - Current Singapore slogan.

In 2000 Video Ezy launched its Fight Back campaign, using slogans such as "Sick of low interest rates? - bank on cheap entertainment with Video Ezy.

Due to the franchise nature of Video Ezy stores, each store runs their own promotions and set their own pricing.

Industrial relations

The company established a training facility in 2006 to develop staff expertise. They had previously worked with a company called Rascals which promoted the use of Australian Workplace Agreements.

Competition and threats

A Video Ezy Express rental kiosk located within The Jam Factory on Chapel Street, Melbourne.

In its home market of Australia, Video Ezy's individual franchises compete with other rental chains such as, Blockbuster, Civic Video, Network Video, Video City, Movies 4U (also known as, Top Video, or Leading Edge Video) and many independently-branded stores throughout the country. Franchises also compete with rental-by-mail and instant streaming service, Quickflix. Video Ezy dominates the New South Wales market, however, in other Australian states like Queensland, it has a similar number of stores to rival, Civic Video, and in Tasmania, its chain of Video City oulets are more numerous and larger in floor space. Since February 2007, Video Ezy's parent company, Franchise Entertainment Group, no longer competes with Blockbuster having acquired it, yet all individual franchises still do.[36][37]

In the area of video and gaming retail, Video Ezy also competes with many of the brands mentioned above, but primarily Australia's DVD, Blu-ray and gaming disc market share is taken up by Kmart, Target, Big W, Sanity, JB Hi-Fi, EB Games, and Amazon.com. However, recent years have seen huge movements towards legal and illegal online entertainment in the form of legal services such as, iTunes, or illegal BitTorrent downloads that continue to challenge Video Ezy's established business model.[38] This is reflected in Video Ezy/Blockbuster franchises closing 270 stores across Australia in the four years to August 2011, and Video Ezy's Indonesian franchises shutting 60 outlets in the two years to January 2013.[39][40] Even some Australian regional centres such as Lithgow and Berri have recently lost their only full scale video libraries when Video Ezy/Blockbuster franchises have closed.[41][42]

In March 2013, Franchise Entertainment Group's CEO, Paul Uniacke told Sunshine Coast Daily in response to a local Maroochydore outlet closing that, "I'm not happy that Maroochydore has gone. It's not something we like to see, absolutely there is a human cost to what's happening here." He went on to add, "the worst thing that happens in a rationalisation is losing stores and losing good people. We've been up on the Coast with Blockbuster for a number of years and with Video Ezy for about 20 years." Uniacke said that Video Ezy/Blockbuster was not alone in facing Australian post-Global Financial Crisis retail conditions, leaving Video Ezy Express rental kiosks to fill the void left by closed stores. He said, "but mark my words, you will see us back in a short space of time. We don't want to leave that territory without the brand too long, we want to stay strong." Adding, "and they are lined up out the door to run kiosks in there, so you will see Blockbuster, or maybe Video Ezy kiosks flowing through there." But in the same interview he admitted, "absolutely we will have less stores, but I don't want to do away with them because they form a valuable part of the business."[43] However, a month later, the second Video Ezy outlet in Maroochydore converted their franchise to Network Video.[44]

In November 2013, responding to Blockbuster US announcing they will shut all their domestic stores, SmartCompany compared Australian Bureau of Statistics figures from financial year 1999/2000 stating there were 1166 individual video hire businesses operating within Australia; compared to a 2013 IBISWorld study finding just 255 DVD rental businesses still operating in the country (a drop of almost 80%). The same study found the overall industry has declined at an annual rate of 14.8% over the five years to 2013. In addition to the obvious competition and threats to rental businesses, it also blamed recent developments from Pay TV and free-to-air television, both radically increasing their channel selections. Another impact stems from the reduced cost of DVD and Blu-ray discs, seeing the average 2013 price of a DVD settle at $16, compared to $20 in the early-2000s. This has acted as a double-edged sword for the industry, boosting the numbers of DVD sales, but also turning renters into buyers.[45]

Presence in other countries

Video Ezy has stores in the following countries outside Australia:

References

  1. ^ a b c "Video Ezy: About Us". Video Ezy Online. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "MCN: Video Ezy". MultiChannelNetwork. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Video Ezy: New Zealand locations". Video Ezy Online. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Video Ezy: Indonesia Store Locator". Video Ezy Online. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Video Ezy: Singapore Store Locations". Video Ezy Online. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Video Ezy: Malaysia Stores Locations". Video Ezy Online. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Wright, Lea (19 August 1987). "Corner Stores Being Pushed Out By Video Supermarkets".  
  8. ^ a b c d "Superbrands: Video Ezy Australia". Superbrands.com. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Video Ezy (Singapore): About Us". Video Ezy Online. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Will they still call Australia home? (27 March 2006)". Franchise Council of Australia (FCA). Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Canter, Laura (1 July 2010). "Franchise Entertainment Group Creates Amusement Down Under". Business Review Australia. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Turner, Adam (23 February 2007). "Video Ezy to acquire Blockbuster as rental stores prepare for video download onslaught". iWire. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "Video Ezy takeover of Blockbuster gets green light (19 September 2007)". Smart Company. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  14. ^ Breaking News, AAP (24 February 2007). "Video Ezy fast forwards with Blockbuster buy".  
  15. ^ Thomson, James (23 January 2009). "EzyDVD bought from receivers by Franchise Entertainment Group". Smart Company. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Klan, Anthony (23 January 2009). "Franchise Entertainment Group buys troubled EzyDVD for $10m". News.com.au. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "Stomp Sold To Video Ezy, Blockbuster, EzyDVD". The Music Network. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  18. ^ Brandle, Lars (9 September 2010). "The Aftershock: What's next for Shock and Stomp". The Music Network. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Media Release: New Name, New Business Opportunities As Stomp Becomes Élan Media Partners". Élan Media Partners. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  20. ^ Bowling, Danielle (1 June 2011). "Movie downloads no threat as Video Ezy launches new rewards program". Franchising. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  21. ^ "Video Ezy launches flashy loyalty program (26 May 2011)". RetailBiz.com.au. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  22. ^ Retailing, Inside (26 May 2011). "Flashy new rewards program". Inside Retailing. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  23. ^ "Flash Rewards". Video Ezy Online. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  24. ^ "Video Ezy and Blockbuster trialling convenience store offering (6 June 2011)". Franchising. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  25. ^ Bowling, Danielle (8 June 2011). "Franchisees in control of Lucky 7 expansion". Franchising. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  26. ^ "Lucky 7's trial in video stores (7 June 2011)". RetailBiz.com.au. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  27. ^ "Cold Rock launches new Express model (7 November 2011)". Franchising. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  28. ^ Gardner, Jessica (2 November 2011). "Mix and match sales".  
  29. ^ Foster, Sophie (12 May 2012). "Iceman plans to pair licks and flicks".  
  30. ^ Stafford, Patrick (29 November 2011). "SMEs warned of potential for social media backlash after customers attack Video Ezy on Facebook". Smart Company. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  31. ^ "Video Ezy in online storm over ad support for Sandilands' radio show (28 November 2011)". Franchising. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  32. ^ Sinclair, Lara (24 May 2011). "Video stores to roll out rental kiosks in fight for DVD dollars".  
  33. ^ Kermond, Clare (16 December 2011). "RedRoomDVD sale heralds a move to kiosks".  
  34. ^ "Video Ezy Express (Australia)". Video Ezy Online. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  35. ^ "Video Ezy Express (New Zealand)". Video Ezy Online. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  36. ^ "Network Video: Store Locator". Network Video Online. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  37. ^ "Video City home". Video City Online. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  38. ^ Nancarrow, Dan (23 June 2012). "Has downloading killed the video star?".  
  39. ^ Croy, Liam (20 August 2011). "Online demand killing video rental stores".  
  40. ^ "Video rental stores survive in digital era".  
  41. ^ Ashworth, Len (19 February 2013). "Death of the disc: Video Ezy to close their doors". Lithgow Mercury. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  42. ^ "DVD hire to shut its doors". Riverland Weekly. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  43. ^ Madsen, Nev (22 March 2013). "DVD kiosks set to replace stores as market changes".  
  44. ^ Madsen, Nev (18 April 2013). "Video stores still alive and kicking".  
  45. ^ Redrup, Yolanda (8 November 2013). "The end of the video store: Blockbuster to close 300 US stores". SmartCompany. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 

External links

  • Franchise Entertainment Group
  • Official Australia website
  • Ezy Blog (Australia)
  • Official Australia Twitter feed
  • Official New Zealand website
  • Official New Zealand Facebook page
  • Official New Zealand Twitter feed
  • Official Thailand website
  • Official Thailand Facebook page
  • Official Indonesia website
  • Official Indonesia Facebook page
  • Official Indonesia Twitter feed
  • Official Singapore website
  • Official Singapore Facebook page
  • Official Singapore Twitter feed
  • Official Malaysia website
  • Official Malaysia Facebook page
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