Hoyts ditches Telstra as internet costs bite

Hoyts ditches Telstra as internet costs bite

Summary: Australian cinema giant Hoyts has just completed a move from Telstra to TPG for its internet service, citing spiralling costs as the primary reason for the migration.

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Australian cinema giant Hoyts has just completed a move from Telstra to TPG for its internet service, citing spiralling costs as the primary reason for the migration.

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(Credit: Film Projector Lens image by Daniel Leininger, CC 2.0)

Speaking to ZDNet Australia at the launch of the new QkR in-cinema ordering system last night, Chris Robinson, support services manager for Hoyts Australia, said that the cinema chain has just finished moving its nationwide internet business to TPG.

"We left [Telstra] due to [high] costs," Robinson said, adding that Hoyts doesn't have just the connectivity needs of its cinemas to consider.

"We have Hoyts and Val Morgan, for shopping centres and cinema [advertising]," he said. So far, TPG has come through with the goods for the Hoyts Corporation. "TPG were the best on price, they're great in customer service and the coverage is always there."

Hoyts' ISP migration is just one aspect of a larger plan in place to bolster the technology backbone of the cinema network to better serve customers, according to Robinson.

The QkR app is a world first on in-cinema ordering technology, developed in tandem with MasterCard Labs. The app allows La Premiere patrons to order food and drinks right to their seats during a movie, eliminating the need for them to leave the cinema midway through the movie. Matthew Ezra, director of Retail, Food and Beverage for Hoyts, said that the company deferred the launch of the service pre-Christmas to avoid giving people a botched experience.

"We had hopes that it might have happened [before Christmas], but for Hoyts, Boxing Day week is the busiest. We didn't want a bad consumer experience," said Ezra of the app.

"We weren't comfortable rolling it out pre-Christmas. We had issues with telcos and reception, scanning issues, the difference between 2D and 3D QR codes," Ezra added.

Wireless connection in particular was an issue, Ezra said. The app itself requires an active data connection to function, which, in some instances, has presented a challenge to Robinson and his team.

As a result, Hoyts is currently in talks with all of the major telcos to boost the signal inside Hoyts cinemas to allow customers to take advantage of the new technology.

"If you didn't have [phone] reception, you couldn't order," Robinson said of the app. "Vodafone seems to be the weakest across the board," Robinson added, while mentioning that Hoyts is talking with the once-beleaguered telco about installing signal boosters to counter said problem.

Robinson and his team are also considering in-cinema Wi-Fi for cinema patrons at some point in the future.

Ezra said that the consideration will depend on how the deployment of mobile, Wi-Fi-enabled candy-bar carts, which are directly integrated into the existing point-of-sale system, fares with customers.

Ezra told ZDNet Australia that Hoyts is set to deploy 40 Wi-Fi-enabled candy-bar carts to 20 sites around the country.

When you come into the cinema, the mission is to get yourself the best seat, he said, adding that in future, it might be an option for users outside of La Premiere to order food directly to their seats, so that they don't have to give up a prime position.

Topics: Apps, E-Commerce, Mobility, Networking, Piracy, Wi-Fi

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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2 comments
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  • "they're great in customer service"

    Ahahahaha.... good one Hoyts!
    Vdai
  • point to point ethernet mpls transmission capital city with a IP component probably at $40 per mbps. throw in some racks, tail xDSL pricing at properly $50-80 per service, some expensive hardware options but of course always free on a 24 month provision.

    all the shoppin centres have fibre ntu's. easy to connect them up. where TPG/Pipe don't have connectivity they just buy from AAPT or Nextgen. as if hoyts would know. hell its probably sold to them as point to point, protected but the thing is properly aggregrated and delivered on a single route (lol).

    with the qld floods last year everyones "protected" networks went down and everyone had to pile onto the last route out of QLD (i.e. Next's).

    the big issue though for Hoyts will be the managing of pricing implementation (always gets fludged) and provision of on/offs when they make changes. Invariably for a company like TPG who pay for the lowest possible person you'll find that their record keeping is **** house. couple this with some major network outages over the next 24 months and you'll see Hoyts seriously considering going back to Telstra.
    chugs@...