OVO Mobile calls 2018 the “AI or Die” Era with AUD$ 13M script deal to acquire Silicon Valley on-device AI platform, Incoming Media Inc

Company Name: OVO

Announcement Date: 06/03/2018
Announcement Category: Merger/acquisition
Announcement Content:

My Mobile Data (trading as OVO Mobile) has acquired mobile engagement technology company Incoming Media Inc. The acquisition brings Australian venture capital firm OneVentures, Warner Music, Intel Capital and Citrix onto the OVO share register and will establish OVOPlay as the world's most intuitive AI-driven mobile broadcasting platform.

Incoming Media's patented video engagement platform for smartphones provides solutions to media broadcasters and marketers struggling to maintain audience share and reach customers who are increasingly harder to engage through traditional channels. It emerged from CSIRO's DATA61 artificial intelligence and machine learning research centre.

Incoming's unique platform delivers a sophisticated personalised mobile user experience serving curated content based on both personal preferences and consumption behaviour, without breaching privacy or burning mobile data and battery life. Recent trials of the platform in partnership with a US MVNO showed users were five times more likely to watch curated content through to the end, repeat watch and share that content.

For OVO, which is focused on establishing itself as Australia's first media-centric mobile telecommunications company, the adoption of Incoming’s video engagement AI and machine learning platform will deliver both a superior digital broadcasting experience for OVOPlay users and OVO's mobile subscribers, and an operating model that can be white-labelled for MVNOs in international markets looking to follow in OVO's footsteps.

In acquiring Incoming Media, OVO has secured global patents including a personalised on-device advertising selection and delivery system, mobile content delivery platform and low-power on-device machine learning. OVO also becomes the first MVNO in Australia to employ three ex-DATA61 PhD data scientists, who will ensure the platform continues to evolve to meet the needs of users and OVO partners.

"By adopting Incoming's technology, OVOPlay is the most sophisticated mobile broadcasting platform, not only in Australia, but worldwide,"
said OVO CEO Matt Jones.

"We've said from the start that OVO is for the fans. Our new platform will deliver them the content they want, where and when they want it in ways they've never seen before, without them having to share personal information, spend more data or chew up their device's battery life. For us, it will mean we can deliver curated sports and entertainment video content to our fans without them having to open an app or website, at a time and situation that suits each individual."
This acquisition also changes the economics of our business model as a media MVNO. OVO now has more than 60,000 mobile subscribers, and more than a million people who have tuned in to content on OVO's digital broadcasting channels over the past year.

"With this deal, we'll be able to better commercialise our broadcast audience, while also reducing cost of transport of content for OVO subscribers and our partners, across the Optus 4G Plus Network that powers OVO mobile. We will also be able to deliver new and innovative subscriber plans down the track,"
Mr Jones said.

The acquisition of Incoming Media means OneVentures, which invested in the technology startup through its Early Stage Fund, becomes a significant shareholder in OVO. Warner Music, Intel Capital and Citrix, which were all early investors in Incoming Media, have also received shares in OVO under the deal.

"OneVentures's interest is in disruptive technology plays, solving big problems with global market applicability. We invested in Incoming Media because we saw the shift to mobile as first screen for entertainment, the potential to change the way digital broadcasters, content owners and marketers reach and engage their audiences, and the effectiveness of Incoming’s technology to deliver this innovation,"
said One Ventures’ Managing Partner, Dr Michelle Deaker.

"The acquisition of Incoming changes OVO from an MVNO with an interesting content strategy, into an innovative, disruptive technology play that can't be ignored by either media or telco sectors. It will enable OVO to deliver content much further beyond its mobile subscriber base, create new revenue streams and sell the model to MVNOs in other markets,"
she added.

Dr Deaker, who recently completed almost six-year stint on the board of Seven West Media, said this acquisition solidifies OVO's intention to establish itself as Australia's first true Media-MVNO, and provides OVO with more opportunity to release new plans, supported by sponsored content versus just subscription dollars, which is very disruptive to telecom companies.

Adapting the technology OVO, which has been working with Incoming Media on adapting its technology to OVOPlay since the second half of 2017, expects to be able to deliver the upgraded platform in Q2 2018.

"Five years from now, there will be no discernible difference to the consumer between what is a media company and what is a telecommunications provider,” Mr Jones said..

“This platform will be a game-changer for this market and others that choose to adopt it. We've known from the start that if we want OVO to be a true media MVNO, the future of media and content will be defined by one single critical investment, AI, and those that do not invest deeply, will as they say, die. We're in on the ground floor of a new business model for both media and telecommunications, that will very quickly redefine what consumers will come to expect from their mobile device."

Announcement URL: https://ovo.com.au/ovo-calls2018-the-ai-or-die-era
About OVO:

At OVO we love sport and we love being entertained. We're big fans of sport - motorsport, tennis, gymnastics, footie, rugby, volley ball....it's a long list.

Like the fans out there we've watched matches on our mobile, listened to commentary while we're in the car, met mates at the pub to watch the grand final, paid through the nose to subscribe to sports TV channels and grudgingly paid extra for the 'pop up' (we prefer to call them 'pay up') channels that show up when there's a really awesome sports event playing.

That's why we started OVO Mobile.

Because we believe that sport is about two things:
achieving greatness
sharing it with the fans
It's not about $$ - or at least it shouldn't be. The athletes, the drivers and the players want to share their successes with their fans - they want the fans to get amongst it.

So why can't fans watch what they want, when they want and where they want? Other companies say "You can't watch that you haven't paid for it." and they say "You want to watch a 45 minute car race on your mobile - you'll need heaps more data for that."

Well, we don't agree.

At OVO Mobile we believe that fans should come first. Our goal is to empower fans to connect with that they really love on their mobile or tablet.

Go to Company Profile for: OVO

Announcement Contact: [email protected]