Oz vid chain to aid battle vs. pirates

Further weakening of counterfeit power expected

JAKARTA — Slowly but surely, legit homevideo distribs and merchants are gaining a foothold in a market that traditionally has been dominated by pirates.

In 1999, the legit homevid biz cornered about 10% of the overall market. Last year, driven by the efforts of the U.S. majors’ licensees and by a handful of professional retailers, that percentage rose to 18%-20%.

This year, tradesters expect to see the a further weakening of the pirates’ grip on the market with the introduction of revenue sharing, coinciding with the entry of Australia’s leading retail chain, Video Ezy.

Last September, the company sealed a master franchise agreement with PT Vision, the local Warner Home Video and Disney Home Entertainment licensee. PT Vision also owns three vid stores and plans to add another two.

In November, PT Vision invited PT Cinekom, a consortium of nine Hong Kong TV and film companies that controls about 90% of Hong Kong video compact disks sold here, to join the partnership with Video Ezy.

Bringing its own successful brand and know-how, Video Ezy aims to introduce professional retailing structures in Indonesia, a country that has tens of thousands of mom ‘n’ pop stores.

The first two Video Ezy stores will open this month and in May. The plan is to develop 50 rental outlets in the next two years, the bigger ones targeting upscale customers in shopping centers, others focusing on residential areas and office buildings.

Tjianan Jie, managing director of Cinekom, says the Video Ezy/Cinecom stores will charge overnight rental fees of 40¢-60¢ per VCD (the dominant format here), compared with the pirates’ 20¢. And Jie is banking on service, selection and amenities to continue to make headway against the street vendors.

“We are confident of success as we try to serve our customers the way Blockbuster does in the States,” Jie tells Variety. “This means we will try to make our air-conditioned stores cozy, snug and comfortable. Newly released titles, notably strong ones, will have a strong backup. And if we do run short of copies, we will give customers vouchers so that they can get them free of charge the next time they come.”

Revenue sharing will be offered to any store in the country that has enough space and accessories “that meet our expectations,” Jie says.

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