This morning Australian DVD rental company Quickflix announced a new CEO, just over a week after the company confirmed they’d struck a deal to take-over BigPond’s DVD rental arm when it closes on September 30.
The announcement today that former Director of Telstra Media, Chris Taylor, will become the company’s inaugural Chief Executive Officer from today is the just the beginning of the next phase of Quickflix in Australia, Quickflix Founder and Executive Chairman Stephen Langsford told iTech Report.
“We’re operating in a exciting space and we have plenty of growth momentum. There are always alot of developments underway which are about positioning us for the future and building shareholder value,” he said.
“Our first phase was to establish the company and build a credible base of customers. Now we are in the expansion phase and having consolidated the market it is time to hit the “go” button.”
The company is set to make the most of news earlier this month that Telstra — one of Quickflix’s main rivals in the somewhat limited market for online DVD rentals in Australia — is closing their DVD rental arm September 30 much to the dismay of members.
A deal was struck between the two companies that will see Quickflix acquire Telstra’s DVD’s and equipment as well as promote to customers the existence of Quickflix as an alternative service.
This, Langsford told iTech Report last week, will hopefully boost the company’s membership base and bring the number of paying customers Quickflix has to well over 100,000. The next long-term milestone for the company in terms of membership, Langsford says, is one million paying customers.
In his role at Telstra, Taylor was largely responsible for overseeing the company’s roll-out of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services, including the streaming of movies and television over the Internet to Telstra’s T-Box device.
Quickflix were keen to point out Taylor’s experience in the IPTV industry in the statement today, and it’s not coincidental. According to Langsford, work is well underway towards launching their own IPTV offering sometime soon — although it’ll work complimentary to their physical DVD rental program as opposed to replacing it.
“Streaming is definitely a big part of the future for Quickflix. The combination of online DVD rental and streaming is a great thing for consumers and clearly it has proven successful for Netflix in the US and Amazon-owned Lovefilm in UK/Europe,” he said.
“We see enormous opportunities to grow subscribers and revenue on the online DVD rental model—90% of households own a DVD and have access to the internet so we’re excited about attracting as many of those to become Quickflix customers.”
The problem for many companies is the strict and often pricey licensing deals needed to stream movies over the Internet. By offering both a physical and digital service, Langsford believes Quickflix will be able to provide a broad range of content that at least for now, digital providers simply can’t match — Telstra for example, offers just 2,500 movies compared to the nearly 45,000 available to DVD rental customers.
Quickflix is also paying close attention to the array of multimedia devices filling the Australian market right now, including smartphones, tablets and other portable devices. While they have an iPhone app available today, when the company eventually launches their streaming service the sky’s the limit, with Langsford confirming the company will “be guided by customers” as to what platforms they support.
“When it comes to streaming our strategy is to make our service available on as many popular consumer devices as we can. We’ll be guided by our customers and the connected devices they choose,” Langsford mentioned.
“We think the iPad and tablets are great devices and there is no question that they will feature as another way we will want to watch movies.”
What’s next for the company? Langsford says they’re currently working on a number of exciting new initiatives which they hope to be able to inform both shareholders and customers about shortly. In the meantime though, the “go button” has been hit, and Quickflix is well underway to growing its already dominant force within the Australian DVD rental industry.