In 1993, one woman took a look at the Australian movie rental industry, which was becoming full of restrictive franchises and monolithic multinational corporations, and knew that there could be a better way.
Keran Wicks was an ordinary rental store owner who was growing disillusioned with the rental industry. With a highly successful store in suburban Melbourne, she began to question why there was one pricing model from movie distributors for her independent store (and hundreds like hers) and another, cheaper pricing model for franchised stores simply due to a sign hanging out the front. Their stores weren’t any better, they were just the same as each other.
Seeing the inequality in the landscape, she set up The Network Group and specifically the rental branch Network Video, with a core group of just 12 like-minded stores. Within a year, Network comprised over a hundred stores, all part of a new group without having to sacrifice their identity or ideology. It didn’t take long before the rest of the industry sat up and took notice, and every year Network took valuable slices of the market share away from longer established groups.
Over two decades down the track, Network is firmly established as the leading player in the rental industry, while still holding to the same principles and philosophies that put it on the path to success. Perhaps the greatest display of Network’s success is the fact that in 1993 there were over 38 rental groups in the industry; in 2013 there are just four and Network is now the largest rental group. Added to that, Network is the only group in the world run by a woman and the most successful non-franchise rental group worldwide.
Since 1993, Network has also picked up its fair share of awards, including three national marketing awards, for our Exclusive to TV, Videology and Cans4Films campaigns, and Network stores have won too many to count industry awards, including awards in every state and territory and the best rental store in the nation.
Over the years The Network Group has added further strings to its bow: the DVD retail website Done Dirt Cheap DVD and the industry information resource and wholesale website and service My Video Store. All of which shows that The Network Group will continue to have a major impact on the Australian movie landscape.
Recently, The Network Group expanded into New Zealand with the intent to introduce our supreme level of customer service and expert movie knowledge to a new market. A good number of Network Video stores are already operating in New Zealand and there’s no doubt that our numbers will continue to grow in New Zealand, as they have in Australia. It goes without saying that The Network Group’s future looks brighter than ever as we expand internationally.