Oz’s Video Ezy hits new Asian markets

Reps of three Asian companies in Sydney this week to finalize deals

SYDNEY — Australia’s biggest video retailer, Video Ezy, is exporting its brand and marketing know-how to Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore in league with local partners. Video Ezy managing director Bob Maidment told Daily Variety that he expects at least 300 Video Ezy-branded stores to roll out in those markets in the next two years.

The company is negotiating master-franchise pacts with PT Vision of Indonesia, a unit of hotel/media/retail group Mugi Rekso Abadi; Alliance Entertainment of Singapore, which is the local licensee for Warner Home Entertainment, New Line Home Entertainment, Columbia TriStar and Village Roadshow; and Catalyst Logic, a division of Ritek, Taiwan’s largest optical disc manufacturer.

Catalyst is Taiwan’s largest home entertainment distrib, repping Warner Bros., MGM, Republic Pictures and HBO. PT Vision is the Indonesian homevid distrib for WB, MGM and Disney.

Reps of all three companies are in Sydney this week to finalize deals with Video Ezy and map out their strategies to introduce that brand and associated franchise systems in their territories.

“These companies are market leaders in every area of endeavor in their own countries and have aggressive expansion plans for home entertainment retail,” Maidment said.

Blockbuster Video operates in Taiwan, but the vid industry in Indonesia and Singapore largely consists of mom-and-pop stores.

Singapore and Indonesia are overwhelmingly sell-through markets, and both are blighted by high levels of piracy, so the challenge for Video Ezy and its partners will be to develop the rental business.

Maidment said he will seek the support of all U.S. majors to help introduce “professional retailing structures” in those markets.

Video Ezy, which operates 456 stores in Australia and 115 in New Zealand, first penetrated Southeast Asia in 1997 when it signed franchise deals in Malaysia.

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