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Online DVDs the new e-business

WA-BASED businessmen Stephen Langsford, Simon Hodge and Bill Keech have embarked on a new venture that aims to tap into Australia’s fast growing DVD market.

Joining forces with US-based eBay executive Sam McDonagh, the trio has created Quickflix, which plans to offer subscriber-based DVD movie delivery as an alternative to using video stores.

The business is set to launch Australia-wide in August and is seen as a pre-cursor to video on demand where users can download movies direct from the web.

Mr Langsford is a director of IT consulting firm Change Corporation and was a founder of e-Business firm Method. Mr Hodge was previously an investment banker with Poynton and Partners following a career as an analyst with various broking houses here and overseas. Mr Keech has worked as a software engineer with US firm TIBCO Software Inc.

Mr Hodge said the Quickflix model, broadly based on the US model Netflix, was highly successful and already had proved itself overseas.

“It is proven to be a successful model in the US and we have no reason to believe it won’t be the same here,” he said.

Customers manage the Quickflix system online. A set number of DVDs can be rented for an unspecified time without incurring a late fee.

Customers choose from a range of DVDs that they place in a queue and have mailed to their home address as subsequent movies are returned.

Mr Hodge said in addition to making movie watching more convenient, flexible and time effective for the customer, it was hoped that Quickflix would rekindle interest in classics and offbeat titles that are not always available through mainstream movie chains.

He said other benefits to consumers would be the assistance of a virtual community, where movie watchers can read reviews, get advice on movies, or perform searches on directors, actors or film histories to seek similar titles.

Mr Hodge said Quickflix would target a cross section of the community.

“The customer value proposition is not just targeting the movie buff. We’ll be targeting different sections of the Australian market, for example regional areas or kids,” he said.

Mr Langsford said Quickflix was currently working with high profile organisations in the lead-up to the launch.

“We are entering some commercial relationships that will see us leverage the profile of Quickflix,” he said.

One of these relationships is with Australia Post, which will handle the mail-outs.

“We’re working with Australia Post to finesse the logistics,” Mr Hodge said.

The venture has secured a “significant capital requirement that has largely been self-funded to date”, according to Mr Hodge.

“Going forward, we will require some external funding through the launch of the service and the national uptake of Quickflix,” he said.

The trio will be inviting supporters – organisations with large subscribers and loyalty programs – in getting Quickflix out in Australia, according to Mr Langsford.

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