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Franchise Entertainment Group

Franchise Entertainment Group Creates Amusement Down Under

Laura Canter

The popular franchise keeps Australians well entertained in a modern fashion
Franchise Entertainment Group Creates Amusement Down Under

Franchise Entertainment Group (FEG) began when Paul Uniacke, CEO and Eddie Nedelko, Company Director, negotiated the purchase of the Video Ezy Australasia Franchise in August 2005, the Blockbuster Australia Franchise in October 2007 and the EzyDVD Franchise in January 2009. 

 

Video Ezy opened its first video rental store in Hurstville, Sydney in 1983 and quickly expanded.  There are currently 405 outlets in Australia, with a further 356 Video Ezy Outlets operating in New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia under a Master Licensing Agreement.

 

In August 2005, Uniacke and Nedelko, who between them own 18 Video Ezy stores in Victoria, purchased the Video Ezy Australasia Franchise. Blockbuster Australia began operations in Australia in 1993, wholly owned by Blockbuster Inc. with four Blockbuster stores. Over four years, they increased the number of corporate stores to over 110 through a strategy of acquisitions and new store openings.  In 1998, they began franchising, and over the next ten years, grew to 400 stores.

 

EzyDVD was established in Adelaide in March 1999 and is still today recognised as being Australia's number one online retail DVD destination.  EzyDVD franchised stores are established in a number of Australian cities. 

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

“Training, training and more training is an ongoing focus,” says Paul Uniacke. “If you can master the systems for implementing good training programs then the new strategies that you roll out can be and are delivered better and more effectively.”

 

FEG has traveled down many different business paths in Australia including the retail of DVDs.

Today, 30 years into the business, FEG continues to vary, improve and drive the rental model. 


“Our back end systems are some of the best in the world from a data extraction data analytical view point,” says Uniacke. “Our front end point-of-sale software, the front counter user interface continues to be tweaked and improved to assist front counter teams and customers. These improvements are guided and driven by franchise focus groups who are both dedicated and passionate about improving this side of the business.”

 

 A huge strength that the brands have under FEG’s leadership is working closely with stores and franchisees to continually improve the systems, a veritable bottom up program led from the top down. “[Eddie and I] are both still passionate about this industry and its future. Making the experience better for consumers and easier for stores. This, we also believe, gives us much success,” Uniacke adds.

 

CAPITAL INVESTMENTS

FEG has spent millions on new technology over the last six years since acquiring Video Ezy, the digital e-rental E-Box alone has cost in excess of $10 million; the Ezy Retail POS system over $3 million to improve and upgrade the experience and the Data warehouse and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) over $4 million invested in the last five years. Continual improvement in store standards, the “in store look and feel” and the interaction is ongoing in both Blockbuster and Video Ezy.  This continual investment on behalf of stores is vital as this ever changing industry evolves.

 

“The Video Ezy online retail sight will be launched by July this year, with the Blockbuster online retail site hopefully expected to be not far behind, subject to further franchise consultation,” Uniacke says.

 

In addition, DVD kiosks should be launched by FEG through the Blockbuster and Video Ezy brands in Australia by July of this year. “Kiosks are convenient, so for both brands these additional touch points will add more to the overall brand offering in the market place,” Uniacke explains.

 

STANDING OUT

FEG’s commitment is to its main stores, franchising stores and “mom and pop” stores. The company has invested a lot of time and money into the business, more than any other rental operator in the history of the Australian home rental industry. FEG believes that this industry will be still here in 2020. The FEG business will continue to be the dominant force in this rationalizing and evolving industry.

 

“The decisions we make now and in the next two to three years will dictate how we fare in 2030,” Uniacke concludes. “Bricks and Mortar stores can be stronger, profitable and vibrant in 2020. They will look different than how they do today, there will be less of them, but they can still be profitable and have an offering tailored to their consumers.”

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