Optus Sports looks to BVOD advertising market opportunity

Optus strikes deal with BVOD digital video advertising provider, Magnite, to bolster its commercial offering around its growing Optus Sports offering

Optus Sports has struck a deal with supply-side adtech platform vendor, Magnite, as its preferred digital advertising partner as it looks to strengthen its position as a broadcast video on-demand (BVOD) provider.

The deal will see digital video advertising capabilities introduced and available to buy programmatically across the Optus Sport platform. Optus VP of TV, content and product development, Clive Dickens, said having established a core audience of more than 870,000 active subscribers, the sports streaming platform is in a strong position to introduce digital video advertising functionality.  

“We’re continuing to focus on providing better advertising capabilities for our advertising partners by working with Magnite, who is a proven performer in the live sport OTT [over-the-top] environment,” he said.  

As part of the step forward, Optus has brought on former Seven West Media senior sales leader, Jimmy Kerr, to head up a newly formed digital video sales team as national ad sales manager. Kerr spent the last nine years at Seven West Media and was one of the digital group sales managers working on AFL, NFL and the Olympics.

“The team at Optus Sport have been doing a sensational job of bringing world-class football to life in Australia and I’m looking forward to helping evolve that coverage further and ensuring we take brands along with us on that journey,” Kerr stated.

Optus noted the BVOD revenue market continues to grow rapidly, and audiences are becoming more familiar and comfortable with OTT live streaming services. It pointed to OzTAM data showing OTT BVOD services have grown 331 per cent between 2015 and 2020, providing impetus for Optus’ strategic growth initiatives.

Optus Sport had 1189 live matches broadcast annually last year, resulting in over 3.4 billion streamed minutes consumed in 2020. The service is available via Fetch, Apple TV and Airplay, multiple Android compatible and smart TVs, Xbox, desktops, or via mobile devices.

Magnite managing director, James Young, said it was excited to be Optus Sports’ preferred SSP and providing branding opportunities alongside premium and engaging programming content.

Also this week, Magnite announced its acquisition of SpotX, a video advertising services platform, from RTL Group for US$1.17 billion in a combination of cash and stock. In a statement, Magnite and SpotX said the ambition is to create the largest independent CTV and video advertising platform in the programmatic marketplace.

Combined, the companies said they will provide better support for sellers, create an alternative to the CTV advertising market’s largest players, and improve scale and efficiency for buyers.

“Sellers have been looking for a scaled independent alternative to the giant companies who dominate the CTV marketplace,” Magnite president and CEO, Michael Barrett, said as part of the acquisition announcement. “The combination of Magnite and SpotX will make this a reality by bringing together the best CTV technologies and teams at a critical time. Ad-supported CTV is just beginning to draw budgets from linear TV and we will be well-positioned to participate in the strongest segment of industry growth for the foreseeable future.”

Magnite and SpotX’s client list includes broadcasters, platforms and device manufacturers such as A+E Networks, The CW Network, Discovery, Disney/Hulu, Electronic Arts, Fox Corporation, fuboTV, Microsoft, Newsy, Philo TV, Pluto TV, Roku, Samsung, Sling TV, Tubi, ViacomCBS, Vizio and WarnerMedia.

Also this month, Magnite launched an open beta of its Unified Decisioning solution for CTV and OTT publishers aimed at maximising yield by removing the need to manage direct sold and programmatic demand channels independently. 

Features including tools and controls to define when and how direct sold and programmatic demand should compete alongside major ad servers to ensure an optimal ad mix is set, factoring in direct and programmatic deal priority and yield as well as busines rules.

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