Australian telco Telstra has led a new US$35m round of funding in online video specialist Ooyala, as part of an effort to boost its IPTV activities.
Under the deal, Telstra, which already offers broadband and IPTV, movie downloads and mobile entertainment, will integrate Ooyala’s cross-platform online video technology.
The firm, which also owns a 50% stake in Australian pay-TV provider Foxtel, will act as an Ooyala reseller, offering the firm’s services to other content owners in Australia that are seeking to move from traditional to online video delivery.
Ooyala offers video hosting, publishing and pay capabilities across four screens, and claims the new deal is part of a new trend for cable and multi-system operators (MSOs) to move more aggressively in the online space.
Speaking to C21 at the UbiQ digital entertainment conference in Paris, Ooyala co-founder and chief technology officer Sean Knapp said: “What we’ve seen over the last few years is a revolving set of investments, starting with online media companies and print organisations, then moving to a lot of broadcasters and networks being more aggressive around how they put their content online. But what we’ve seen, especially internationally, is a bit slower adoption from the large cable operators and MSOs.
“What’s exciting about this [deal] is it signifies a shift, that this is an area where the cable operators and MSOs are not only participating but effectively doubling down their investment and aggressively moving to a true ‘TV everywhere,’ multi-platform investment.”
Knapp added that the fact the new investment came from Australia, rather than the more advanced markets of the US or UK demonstrated a strong level of innovation. “In Australia, roughly 23% of households pay for TV. That means 77% of the market is open to capturing more consumers and converting them to paying consumers,” he said.
The funding marks Ooyala’s fifth, or Series E, round. Return backers Sierra Ventures, Rembrandt Venture Partners and CID Group also participated, along with other strategic investors.
Knapp said that with the new funds, Ooyala plans to “push very aggressively internationally,” building on existing deals with the likes of Yahoo! Japan with new partnerships in Korea, parts of Latin America and Europe.