After growing its customer base to over 400,000 and generating revenue Mediaweek calculates at over $120m annually, the focus at Kayo in 2020 will be to continue to build the brand.
Kayo chief executive Julian Ogrin told Mediaweek: “Our agency partners have said we are one of the fastest brand builds for awareness in the country. That has been a success.”
When launching a new brand it certainly helps being part of the News Corp family with your brand being attached anything to do with sport on News Corp Australia platforms.
The streaming platform has only just completed its first 12-month cycle through all the sports it offers.
“We have learnt a lot in that 12 months. We found when it comes to a call to action it is all about timing. If you have a big game coming up on a Friday night, you really need to leverage that on a Thursday or Friday. If you go as much as a day earlier it could be a day too soon. We have really focused on how to get maximum take up by managing the calendar.”
People rushing to subscribe to Kayo just before a big match is something it can handle. “We have built a platform that can handle tens of thousands of sign-ups in minutes,” said Ogrin. “Not every game drives that, but we have gone through a couple of different World Cups and have experienced high volumes of sign-ups prior to an event and our system has managed it beautifully.”
Ogrin said he thought Kayo had done well to retain a lot of the customers who came on board for either AFL or NRL this year. “On average our customers are watching seven sports and watching on average five and a half hours a week.
“The calendar has worked well. After the end of the AFL we went into the Rugby World Cup and the crossover of the fanbase was high.
“We are a very data-driven organisation and what we have is a very good understanding of what our users like and what they engage with and we make sure we communicate with them on a regular basis.”
Kayo is finding users who come in for one sport will start browsing other codes. “For example you think geographically the synergy between AFL and rugby would be minimal. But the engagement of AFL fans with the Rugby World Cup was fantastic.”
Such is the dedication of sports fans, some subscribe to both Foxtel with the sports package and Kayo. “Foxtel has been very successful in 30% of Australian households. What Kayo is now doing is going for the other 70% who are considering a streaming service. We get many people of course who are not Foxtel customers, but we also get [Foxtel] households using Kayo as a secondary screen for sports lovers when the main screen is being used by someone else.”
With year one ticked off, Ogrin said there is also now a focus on working with Foxtel Media on commercial opportunities. “We have built the capabilities for leveraging commercial partners. To date there has been a real focus on the Kayo experience. As we look forward to next year we will start to leverage that. What Kayo isn’t is an AVOD service. We will remain first and foremost giving people the best experience possible of watching the sport they love.”
Foxtel has indicated recently it will not pay what Rugby Australia wants for future TV rights. The streaming TV boss didn’t want to engage with speculation about how big a loss Australian Rugby would be to Kayo. “It’s not for me to comment on that one,” said Ogrin.
More sport is better though, right? “Our job is to use the sport portfolio [available] and look after those fans.”
Lower profile sports broadcasters in Australia on the Foxtel platform like ESPN and beIN Sports should be happy with the exposure they are now getting on Kayo. “They are really excited about the product,” confirmed Ogrin. “It is an easier way for those broadcasters to market their product in Australia.”
An added bonus for sports fans is that Kayo can offer extra matches when it comes to certain big tournaments where Fox Sports cannot broadcast every single game. “We can also show up to four screens at once for one event – at Bathurst for example people can choose between Fordcam, Holdencam, Pitcam, Helicam or Racecam. That is something only we can do.”
Kayo’s most recent subscriber numbers
450,000+ active customers (including users on trials)
400,000+ paying customers