Ooyala Sets Up R&D Center In Singapore To Chase Mobile Audiences In Asia

Video services provider Ooyala is setting up an R&D operations in Singapore, and is hiring researchers and data scientists for the facility.

The company provides video technology to media companies and telcos, enabling them to stream their content online such as the Australian Open, or helping ESPN embed videos in tweets.It claims to have a collective viewership of about 200 million across 130 countries each month.

Ooyala has had a small staff of four in Singapore since last year, but the new facility will bump up its presence here to about 20 when it’s operational in 2014, said CEO, Jay Fulcher. The center here will focus on researching localized products for Asia, as the company expands outside of the US. Ooyala will keep its core engineering team in Mountain View, where most of its 300 staff are. It also maintains offices in Sydney, Tokyo, LA, New York and London, with teams of about ten in each of them.

Fulcher wouldn’t say how much the company is ploughing into the center here, but said it is making “significant” investments into its growth. Last year, the company raised a massive $35 million round, led by Australian telco, Telstra. It was its fifth round to date.

The company isn’t profitable, but Fulcher said Ooyala can make its books positive “at any given point”, but is choosing to spend aggressively on expansion in the meantime.

45 percent of its revenue comes from North America, with Asia, Latin America and Europe after, in descending order. When I pointed out that it’s generally unusual for companies to have Asia as their second-largest revenue contributor, Fulcher said it’s because Ooyala landed a large client in the Times Group of India. “In fact, that was our first client ever,” he said.

As Ooyala expands in Asia, it’s also chasing the growing audience watching video on mobile devices here. According to its latest video index report, Singapore viewers had the longest live viewing sessions at 52 minutes on average.

57 percent also watched online videos to completion, indicating that they were engaged with the content. And more viewers in the region are watching videos longer than ten minutes—considered “longform” for videos, said Fulcher. A third of viewers in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand watch these longer videos.

Other video networks focusing on mobiles are making an active play for the region, too. California-based Vuclip just reported that its mobile video network has 80 million monthly viewers, with most of them in the emerging markets in Asia and Latin America. It has raised $35 million to date, and earlier this year acquired another mobile video player, Jigsee, to expand into India.