The March 2018 Main Meeting
Tonight, we enjoyed a visit from the CEO and Founder of OVO.
OVO is “technically” a third-party phone service using the Optus network, however it has a unique view on what a phone service should be. As we will see OVO is #for the fans
The Origins of OVO
The origin of OVO came out of Matt's experiences in Telstra in 2012. Matt was in a group that first developed the media apps for sports like the NRL.
Matt found the Telco’s had a mindset about pricing. Phone companies traditionally made their profit by subscription with you buying time and access to your phone service. They held the same idea for the sports apps. Mat realized the great contrast between the Telco's and the entertainment companies, especially the free to air ones where the money is in the advertising. Matt decided that a new model of mobile media was needed where telco customers where not perceived as cash cows but an as audience. Why would you pay to see a game on your phone when its available free elsewhere?
Matt could see change coming, more and more people where watching content on mobile devices. Then Steve Jobs created the iPhone and mobile content was of and running. Technology and phone networks needed to catchup, some would say they still need to catchup but content not conversation was soon the driving force of profit for most mobile Telco’s.
There are now 10 million people watching sport on a mobile device. There are more people viewing content on a mobile devise than TV. Matt spoke about the rise of Netflix. Here we see Optus and Telstra building these wireless and cable services and along comes Netflix, “pays (the Telco’s) nothing and runs their service on top, and you pay netflix.” That leaves the Telco’s just providing “dumb pipe” How not to lose the race? Convergence.
There is a growing convergence of media and telco companies. The American AT&T phone company is looking to acquire the entertainment company Time Warner, while the big media companies are vying for most popular sports.
So, where does OVO fit in?
To introduce OVO Matt started with a video to show the range of sport available.
This gave us a good idea of the range of content on offer. Where OVO is different is in the content.
Matt explained that the big media companies need large viewing audiences to attract the advertising. They are also hampered by the number of channels they have available and if a sport failed to attract viewers that’s one channel in the red. Matt can have any number of channels. The underlying framework is the phone business, and the profit is in the arrangement with Optus that allows for the data use needed to view streaming services. Matt believes that the future of mobile phones is not in providing a phone but in the service the companies will offer. This may be happening already. The son of a friend moved to Optus simply to get free streaming of the Premier league.
There was discussion in the group about how media is being consumed by viewers, and Matt believes that the antenna could be a thing of the past as more people receive their media via the internet.
Big sport coverage is great but the question Matt wondered was “What about the grass roots sport?” The real sport most people either play or watch their kids play are things like Volleyball and Water Polo, Hockey and Gymnastics. Matt recognized that real grass roots sport was not available to most viewers, so OVO stepped in and provided the coverage. OVO goes out to cover major events and sponsors things like athletics’ carnivals. To show how effective the concept is, when OVO covered the Gymnastics National Competition in Melbourne they had viewer’s tuning in from across the country. People like grandparents and relatives who couldn’t afford a trip viewed the comp on OVO.
The OVO plans
Matt told us about the coverage OVO has through their plans. Kids a young as ten now have a phone and the OVO mini is targeted to that market. OVO has teamed up with Family Zone
to provide a kids cyber security app. This gives the parents real control over how the phone is used. It can be locked so there is no phone at school or at bed time. They now have 35000 kids on this OVO plan.
The students are OVOs next big market. This group is usually mobile, they move around sharing accommodation and travel to University. They need a mobile broadband connection and one of their own not shared with all the other house mates. The 50 and 100 GB plans are popular with this group and if needed they come with a 4G Huawei modem. All these plans come with unlimited data for OVO play.
OVO Play, its all about the game
Matt then spoke about 400 Thunder, OVOs grass roots drag racing channel. Starting in 2014 the 400 Thunder has gone from 1 event to 15 events a year with around 2 to 3 thousand viewers per event including 30 % in the US and 15% from Brazil.
On a question from the floor Matt pointed out that OVO do the whole production, with their own Outside Broadcast van and 18 cameras around the grounds. In effect OVO is its own broadcast company. 7 Mate has just jumped on board with a deal to show delayed broadcasts.
Here’s the Thunder from Willowbank Raceway
All this content is not limited to OVO customers. OVO Play is available online to anyone, but If your not an OVO customer then you will see more ads. OVO Play is not geo locked so anyone world wide can view OVO Play.
Here’s a few examples. The Water Polo
And I found the National Age Water Polo Championships with games by the under 14s, that’s real grass roots sport.
And some Gymnastics
OVO and the AEL
OVO is still growing and tonight Matt announced a 5 year deal with the Australian University’s ESports League. There is a $1500-dollar prize pool for the competition.
Gaming is becoming one of the largest recreational sports with audiences in the millions. It’s a market for participants, as Matt pointed out most viewer’s also play. Gamer’s who understand the game as a player can appreciate the intricacy of the games modes and attributes whereas someone not familiar with the game will still enjoy the action.
Here’s Matt Jones on the ABC Business on Monday the 3rd April introducing the AEL Gaming Cup and speaking on the business model and the company’s relationship with its carrier Optus.
The Universities are involved because they see it “as a way to engage their technology students in the art and craft of creating, producing and developing video games”.
Here’s a link to the recap of the AEL Takken 7 Gamers Comp,
OVO and Incoming Media
OVO has acquired Incoming Media, a US Company developing a AI based leaning software to deliver the content you want, to your phone or tablet when you want it.
Here’s the report from Australian Financial Review and
It’s all about questions like, How do you know the game’s on? And What if you can’t watch it when it is? How do you avoid missing out? OVO with Incoming Media has developed the OVO “My Mobile Data” app.
For OVO the technology is about finding your interests, finding the content you want and delivering it to you when you want it. The technology uses the sensors on your phone to monitor how and when you use your phone, in the morning, on the bus or train. What about at work? Are you, hands on the tools and don’t see your phone or do you need it to check appointments etc. At night are you browsing your phone messages or checking Facebook before bed.
By using the sensors, the AI can tell when you are most likely to be available to see the content you are interested in.
Whoa, what about your privacy. Matt went into some detail about privacy and how the technology protects you. It’s an “on device machine learning AI” and Matt simplified the idea like this “Think of it as your personal butler, who knows everything about you but tells no-one”, so “unlike Facebook this data stays on your phone and never goes into the cloud”. You can tailor the feeds to suit your tastes as they change. For example, you can ask the AI to forget Cricket, I am more interested in league now. There is no sharing of e-mails addresses or any personal data, not even your travel patterns are sent off line. Matt said it was the next generation of data collection. It’s stored on your devise and nowhere else. Asked about the location of the data Matt pointed out the data was stored in the app and if it’s deleted so is the data.
Now the data is not shared but OVO is exporting the technology to other companies to use on applications they may develop. Around 5 to 6 companies in the US have used the tech and found that they get between 5 to 10% more customers engaging with the content delivered through the app.
The technology is far more effective than using simple text notices.
In the final slide we looked at how the app looked on a real phone.
Real time notifications can be seen on the lock screen, you can open them into a notifications screen. On the notification screen we see free video content found by the AI based on your preferences. It can be seen as an overlay while you browse through your apps or full screen.
Tonight, Matt donated the OVO Modem and 100 GB over one month
And our winner