TECH DEALS: Hoyts' digital blockbuster

Hoyts leverages its brand equity to take on the online streaming market, and iiNet becomes the first reseller of Optus' 4G services.

Tech Deals is a weekly column covering the latest deals in one of the busiest sectors for M&A. To read previous articles go to our Tech Deals page

Hoyts' dives into the Stream 

Cinema chain Hoyts’ entry into the streaming market could be just the ticket for the country’s oldest national cinema brand to cement its position in the $198 million on-demand digital entertainment market.

The company is set to launch Hoyts Stream in the first quarter of 2013 in what is a logical expansion of its existing footprint and put its substantial brand equity to good use.  

Apart from the cinema business Hoyts’ existing assets include its DVD rental kiosk division, Oovie, which is set to be rebranded as Hoyts Kiosks next month. The two assets along with Stream will be the three pillars of Hoyts’ consumer division.

The stream platform will support multi-device access and the company will initially implement a pay-as-you-go model for new releases as well as classic movies and TV content. This will be followed by an all-you-can watch subscription model.

The on-demand market in Australia is in a nascent stage so the entry of a traditional player like Hoyts is good news and should make things interesting for the likes of Quickflix, which has been signing deals with content providers at a steady pace.

Quickflix’s scored a major coup in February this year with US heavyweight HBO coming in as a strategic investor and Samsung Australia sealing a partnership to allow its users to stream Quickflix’s content to selected devices. Last week, the company added more content providers to its line-up including a pay-per-view streaming deal with Walt Disney and Warner Bros Australia.

However, getting hold of the content is only part of the equation, the bigger challenge for Hoyts will be the delivery of the content and engaging with the customer base. As competition in the market heats up success won’t be dictated by the size of a captive audience, which incidentally Hoyts does possess, but rather by how well it can deliver the right product to the right audience. That means offering the service at a realistic price point with a substantial selection of content. 

Optus and iiNet's 4G embrace

Optus has started the 4G LTE race with great gusto and the move to join forces with the likes of iiNet not only raises the competitive stakes for Telstra but also bodes well for the consumer.

With its 4G network now up and running in Sydney, Perth, Newcastle and Melbourne, Optus has now linked up with iiNet, allowing the Perth-based ISP to become the first reseller of its 4G services.

The deal should set the stage for a flurry of similar deals given that the likes of Amaysim, Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile are all reportedly keen to piggy back off Optus’ infrastructure. All of this should be great for Optus news when it comes to building the customer base using its 4G network.

It’s also great news for consumers because the presence of a reseller market will to some extent deliver better competitive service options to them. iiNet may be using Optus’ network but it will be offering its own branded 4G devices, including a 4G wireless USB modem and a mobile WiFi hotspot  which allows as many as 10 devices to share the 4G service,  in the coming months. The ISP’s prices will also provide a handy indicator to the sort of pricing regime that customers can expect.

While it’s too early to say whether deals such as this one will help Optus close the gap with Telstra this is a good step in the right direction. However, it will take a lot to topple Telstra.

Telstra Super picks Tableau for analytics

Australia’s largest corporate superannuation fund, Telstra Super, has deployed Tableau Software’s business intelligence solutions to help development of new product and services for its 100,000 strong membership.

With $11 billion of funds under management the fund is sitting on a mountain of data and the deployment of analytics solutions is critical in unlocking the hidden value of this data.

According to Telstra Super’s business intelligence manager David Calistro, the insights gained through the use of analytics will be critical in shaping the future landscape of the superannuation sector.

“With the Australian retirement savings industry in a prolonged state of government-driven reform, these deepened insights are essential to helping us make informed product development and member service decisions, as well as developing more meaningful relationships with our stakeholders.”

GRG International forks out $25 million for Triton Systems

ASX-listed automatic teller machine supplier GRG International Limited is set to buy US-based Triton Systems and its holding company for $US25 million.

Triton is a major US-based manufacturer of off-premise ATMs and ATM management software. For over 30 years Triton has been a pioneer in manufacturing retail ATMs in the United States and shipping them worldwide. Triton boasts over 200,000 installations in more than 24 countries.

According to GRG, the Triton integration is projected to increase its consolidated annual revenues by over $55 million, annual profits by $6.3 million and increase assets by over $25 million Triton was acquired by NASDAQ-listed Dover Corporation in 2000 and was subsequently sold to a group of private investors in March 2010.

The transaction, which is not subject to shareholder approval, will first see GRG International take ownership of Triton RE and then the independent purchase of 46.67 per cent of Triton from private shareholders. GRG has arranged 100 per cent debt funding for the transaction through an Asian-based private equity fund.

First Data teams up with Accenture, VocaLink on new payment solution

Global payment processing firm First Data Corporation has signed an exclusive teaming agreement with Accenture and VocaLink to introduce the Immediate Payments solution in Australia.

The solution enables consumers and businesses to transfer funds between bank accounts in real or near real-time.

The companies will now seek input from key industry participants to collaboratively develop the technical and governance elements of the solution. The ultimate objective is to offer a platform for payments innovation, consistent with the goals outlined in the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) Strategic Review of Innovation in the Payments System.

Bluewolf buys Velteo

International IT consulting firm Bluewolf has acquired Australian customer engagement consultancy Velteo to expand its presence in the country.

Bluewolf’s management said that the firm had worked closely with salesforce.com leadership team to identify Velteo as a possible acquisition target. Velteo’s co-founder, Jamie Pride, will assume the position of managing director, Australia.

Bluewolf’s local presence will be underpinned by the existing Velteo team including co-founder Con Georgiou and Frank Cuiuli. Velteo was one of the top three strategicsalesforce.com partners in Australia.

Verizon Australia gets government certification

Verizon Australia has been awarded a Gatekeeper accreditation and aCommon Criteria product certification by the Australian government. The two awards formally recognize Verizon’s proficiency in delivering specific Identity Access Management solutions that enable the secure delivery of key online government services.

To achieve accreditation, Verizon Australia satisfied the government that it can deliver on complex requirements mandated under the Gatekeeper PKI Framework. The Common Criteria certification for Verizon’s UniCERT - a software product that is designed to provide the functionality required to implement and maintain a PKI system – was awarded by the Defense Signals Directorate.

Red Rock completes Tripoint buy

UXC Limited’s subsidiary Red Rock Consulting has completed the acquisition of the business of Tripoint Online, to become a leading local managed service provider covering the Oracle stack. 

Tripoint is a leading provider of online managed services solutions for applications through to servers and storage. The company, predominately based around Oracle’s PeopleSoft Application stack, will be folded into the Red Rock’s existing managed services practice.

The combined managed services team will be led by Gerry Williams, general manager - support & managed services.