Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) has announced it has taken a $5 million equity stake in media-MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) telecommunications start-up OVO Mobile and its rapidly expanding digital broadcasting platform, OVOPlay.
As Australia’s largest entertainment media company, SCA is strategically investing and working with OVO, a company focused on building a telecommunications offering around an entertainment platform – specialising in sports content.
OVO purchases the exclusive broadcast rights for Australian sports that have a large grass-roots following, but where fans have little opportunity to engage with the sport outside of attending an event.
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.
Video and audio content of the major events of these sports are run exclusively on OVOPlay and available data-free to OVO Mobile customers.
In addition, as part of the relationship, SCA’s Triple M and Hit Network stations are available to OVO customers data free.
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 has more than doubled its customer base quarter-to-quarter, and seen 600 per cent growth since January 2017.
Matt Jones CEO 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,” Mr 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,” he added.
In addition to the SCA deal, OVO has further secured its ongoing relationship with Optus, signing a fresh 5 year exclusive mobile contract. As an MVNO, OVO Mobile services operate on the Optus 4G Plus network.
Stuart Bird, Optus’ Managing Director Wholesale and 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,” Mr Bird said.