Video Ezy is set to deliver Video-on-Demand (VoD) to customers in the coming year, as well as other services such as MP3 downloads and home cinema components.
Video Ezy plans to introduce its own VoD service late in 2006 as a competitor to Bigpond Movies, and is in the planning stages of selling devices such as IP set-top boxes with DVD players on board.
Paul Uniacke, managing director of Video Ezy said VoD use a set-top box and not a PC. He said this is due to security concerns: “Computers will be hard to use in this space because of security. To deliver the content straight to computer – it’s not going to happen. A set-top box will protect intellectual property as piracy is a huge issue”, he said.
Uniacke was unable to give an approximate for the cost of a set-top box, but said the movies themselves would be between four and eight dollars for new releases and four to six dollars for back catalogue movies.
Despite his concerns over piracy, he said that PC-based delivery methods would still be considered: “There’s potential for streaming media via computer if the security can be signed off on.”
Video Ezy is also set to launch its own MP3 service online and through its stores, he said. “We do phone top-up using an English company called ePay. We’re talking with them – their MP3 offering is very close to delivery at the moment. And 540 of our 560 stores already have an ePay terminal.”
Studios like Sony Pictures are in negotiations with VoD operators to set staggered dates so as not to affect existing formats, he said. “We’ll get 120 days on DVD, and then after another 90 days it will go to VoD. There’s nothing to say VoD will be able to deliver all back-catalogue material”, Uniacke said.
“Bigpond and Adam Internet are going to be competitors in this marketplace. We don’t want to be first to market in this space and we certainly don’t want to be last to market. We’ll look at offerings as they become available”, he said.
“We see this space not as a detriment to our industry, but as a supplement. In the last dot-com boom they were predicting that video stores would be gone by 2005. I don’t subscribe to that notion”, Unaicke said.