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EMT continues push into U.S. hospitality market

Australian hotel video-on-demand specialist Entertainment Media and Telecoms (EMT) has acquired the hospitality arm of Verizon Select Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S.

Australian hotel video-on-demand specialist Entertainment Media and Telecoms (EMT) has acquired the hospitality arm of Verizon Select Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S.-based Verizon Communications.

EMT, which profits from revenue-sharing deals with hoteliers for its in-room entertainment services, announced that it had paid Verizon US$1.5 million for the rights to supply 2500 rooms with digital video-on-demand and high speed Internet access under an agreement with an unnamed five-star hotel chain.

The acquisition -- foreshadowed by EMT executive chairman, Peter Dykes, last June -- followed a flurry of activity by the company to increase its potential customer-base in North America over recent months.

EMT acquired Canadian in-room entertainment provider, Galavu Entertainment, last month. Galavu, purported to have invested CAD$25 million installing its equipment since 1996, was subject to a management buy-out in May 2003 after it was delisted from Canada's stock exchange.

The Australia DVoD specialist paid Galavu a AU$400,000 cash consideration, and 20 million in shares over three years, for the rights to operate Galavu's hybrid analogue-digital DVoD system in 26,000 rooms dispersed throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean.

According to EMT, the latest acquisitions have pushed the company's potential customer footprint to around 30,000 rooms throughout Europe, the U.S., Singapore and New Zealand.

EMT, which blamed the global tourism slump that followed September 11 and the SARS epidemic for its AU$8.1 million in losses over the last two years, today said its prediction that the tourism market would recover had proved accurate and that it was well positioned to benefit from the market's alleged recovery.

In June last year, EMT announced that it had won a contract upgrade ageing in-room entertainment equipment throughout the InterContinental Hotel Group's its five-star hotel chain to General Dynamics' Intrigue digital video-on-demand technology.

At the time, the company said the deal was potentially worth AU$50 million over three years, based on an expected roll-out of 40,000 rooms returning AU$1.40 per day.