Hoyts’ green DVD vending machines,
Will be re-branded or removed across Australia in coming weeks after it sold its kiosk division to rival Evolve Entertainment.
Hoyts bought former market leader Oovie in 2009 and rebranded its machines as Hoyts Kiosk, offering Blu-Ray and DVD rentals with a credit card.It has been the main competitor to Evolve’s Video Ezy Express for years, with kiosks for both usually seen in shopping centres.
Now, the company’s kiosks in about 600 locations around Australia will be rebranded or closed after they were acquired by Evolve, whichoperates Video Ezy Express and Blockbuster-branded movie kiosks.
A Hoyts spokeswoman confirmed that Evolve Entertainment had acquired the Hoyts Kiosk business in Australia for an undisclosed amount.
She said the acquisition “does not include and does not affect the Hoyts cinema business”.
Hoyts Kiosks has been emailing customers about the merger with Video Ezy Express, which it said would allow them to “rent from over 1000 Video Ezy Express kiosks across Australia” and offering $10 rental vouchers to use in the alternative machines.
Some emails sent to customers said they were “sorry to say that your local Hoyts Kiosk will be removed in the coming weeks”.
Others said it would be “updating your local Hoyts Kiosk with a new Video Ezy Express kiosk”.
Emails appear to have been sent out to customers since November advising them of the change.
Video Ezy launched its first kiosks in 2011.
In the era of video streaming and Netflix, traditional DVD rental companies have been under pressure.
A suggestion provided in the Video Ezy Express Kiosk Business Guide for franchisees deciding where to place their DVD rental machine is to “put a kiosk where a video store has closed or is about to close”.
Sydney has one Video Ezy store left, in Mount Druitt, but also lost its last Blockbuster in 2017. Some Civic Video stores have also closed in the past 12 months.
In 2016, the Australian Video Rental Retailers Association folded. It was a not for profit group representing video shops in Australia.
A report in 2017,Video and DVD Hire Outlets in Australia from IBISWorld analyst Anthony Kelly,described the industry’s declineas “startling”.
The industry has fallen from highs of $1.5 billion in fiscal 2004 to a third of this figure, with an annualised drop of 21 per cent tipped until 2018-19. The research found the number of rental establishments had fallen from 2000 in fiscal 2009, to 650 today.
He predicted only 100 would exist in 2019.
Evolve Entertainment has been contacted for comment.