Home Telecoms & NBN SCA takes $5m stake in OVO Mobile as OVO signs fresh 5yr Optus deal

Entertainment media company Southern Cross Austereo has strategically invested $5 million in media-MVNO OVO Mobile and its "rapidly expanding" OVOPlay streaming media platform, as OVO has renewed an exclusive five-year Optus mobile deal.

OVO bills itself as a "company focused on building a telecommunications offering around an entertainment platform – specialising in sports content", and with the company's success in doubling its customer base quarter-to-quarter and growing 600% since January 2017, it has captured the attention of Australia’s largest entertainment media company, SCA.

OVO tells us that it purchases "the exclusive broadcast rights for Australian sports that have a large grassroots following, but where fans have little opportunity to engage with the sport outside of attending an event".

Indeed, sport is a major drawcard, and a number of sports "have signed OVO on as their exclusive digital broadcasting partner including Gymnastics Australia, Water Polo Australia, Supercheap Auto V8 Supercars team, 400 Thunder Drag Racing and World SuperBikes".

As you'd expect form such deals, "video and audio content of the major events of these sports are run exclusively on OVOPlay and available data-free to OVO Mobile customers."

The deal follows an existing OVO and SCA relationship which, as reported in iTWire back on 1 May 2017 in an article entitled: "OVO Mobile, Southern Cross collaborate on data-charge free deal", gave OVO customers free and unlimited streaming access to broadcast FM radio networks The Hit Network and Triple M, and naturally this deal continues.

Commenting, chief sales officer at SCA, Brian Gallagher, said, “SCA is attracted to OVO's business model of offering compelling mobile telecommunications offerings built around its own digital platform for unique sport and entertainment content.

"Sport is the biggest immediate synergy between OVO and SCA. Sport is integral to our Triple M network and increasingly popular on our PodcastOne network with podcasts like Howie Games. We think there are great untapped opportunities for us to work with OVO to bring great content to the target audiences our clients are seeking to reach.”

Since the launch of its first products in August 2016, OVO reports having "more than doubled its customer base quarter-to-quarter, and seen 600 per cent growth since January 2017."

Matt Jones, chief executive of OVO, said, "Much of this growth has come from customers experiencing our content on OVOPlay and then purchasing more products from us – on average, two more additional OVO product subscriptions for the household.

"Our mobile offering is strong, but it's our broadcasting focus that sets OVO apart and gives us our higher purpose, which is attracting big audiences for sports that otherwise struggle to gain traction.

"As the captain of the Australian Water Polo women's team, Rowie Webster says, 'you can't be what you can't see.' We are helping sports become more sustainable by bringing new audiences to watch and participants to play − and frequently, giving people the chance to see their friends and relatives compete and perform for the first time," Jones said.

"SCA’s decision to take a stake in OVO will allow us to escalate our push to sign up more sports and other entertainment offerings to OVOPlay, attract larger audiences and bring more people across to our mobile offerings. We're delighted that they've seen the value and potential of what we're building."

In addition to the SCA deal, OVO notes having "further secured its ongoing relationship with Optus, signing a fresh five-year exclusive mobile contract. As an MVNO, OVO Mobile services operate on the Optus 4G Plus network".

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Stuart Bird, Optus’ managing director, Wholesale & Satellite, said, “Optus is pleased to renew our relationship with a strategic partner like OVO which continues to delight customers with its unique video content streaming and data services neatly layered on a simple proposition.

"Optus is a proud supporter of OVO, delivering them a world-class mobile network that enables their customers to make the most of market-leading video content.

“With the Optus mobile network recently ranking Best in Test in the 2017 P3 Connect Mobile Benchmark Australian analysis, we know that our mobile network delivers outstanding service for our customers and our partners’ customers. We look forward to extending our relationship with OVO at this exciting time in their growth story.”

Finally, OVO has certainly made its mark and continues doing so, "reinventing the traditional telecommunications model with an innovative content platform", and by offering "data free allowances for the consumption of entertainment and ‘OVO content’ for sports and entertainment fans".

This is "in addition to tailored phone and data solutions for the whole family, including generous data allowances for everyday use with unlimited national calls and SMS in Australia and affordable plans specially designed for kids that include free cyber safety".

This includes leading with plans such as the 100GB Mobile 4G broadband plan for tablets, 4G dongles and Wi-Fi hotspots, which started in early September 2017 as $100 per 100GB, and quickly fell to $69.95 per 100GB in about two weeks due to growing demand for the service and OVO's desire to stay keenly competitive.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

 

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