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Browser and mobile software company Opera Mediaworks (OMW) — which is part of Opera Group — is getting its foot into Africa’s mobile ad space with the recent acquisition of Cape Town-based AdVine Mobile.
The deal doesn’t come entirely out of the blue as OMW and AdVine have a long-standing relationship, with the mobile ad company being responsible for monetising the Norwegian-based company’s mobile-ads in the region. Other clients include mobile social network Mxit and the BBC.
AdVine is now wholly owned by OMW.
“We will continue to trade as AdVine in the short-term but we now have access to a global network of premium publishers which also strengthens our reach and position in Africa,” AdVine CEO Sarah Utermark told Ventureburn.
According to AdVine’s media pack, the Opera Mini browser for instance attracts over 6-million monthly users in South Africa alone. This is largely due to the fact that the browser works on many feature phones and smartphones.
“Africa is positioned to become the mobile continent with experts predicting an explosion in mobile data usage over the next five years,” says Mahi de Silva, CEO of OMW in a press statement.
“We are particularly excited about the hundreds of millions of African and global consumers who will be glued to the African Cup of Nations in 2015.”
Unfortunately AdVine’s not allowed to comment on any of the financial details, but Utermark does say that AdVine’s product offering will improve dramatically.
Mediaworks’ global footprint gives us access to one of the biggest mobile ad networks of premium publishers in the world. Opera Mini is the most widely used browser in Africa giving us unprecedented reach across the continent. Mediaworks’ continues to innovate with proprietary technology in mobile video and rich media ad formats which will be rolled out in local markets through 2015. Opera’s data compression technology makes browsing on Opera Mini in Africa very attractive.
“Mobile web usage in Africa is one of the highest globally and the continent’s dynamic mobile industry remains an incredible place of growth,” continued Utermark.
“We’re excited to be able offer unrivaled reach to brands looking to tap into the burgeoning African market as part of OMW’s global mobile advertising platform.”
According to a report, February 2014 saw more than 259 million unique users use Opera’s mobile browsers in Africa, who together viewed a massive 168-billion pages.
Though Opera’s mobile usage numbers are massive, the catch largely lies in the fact that the data usage is not. Data in the Opera Mini browser is said to be compressed by up to 90%.
Opera Software has extensive experience and traction serving the mobile market in Africa through its mobile browsers and traffic management products. The company’s commercial relationships across more than 30 operator partners in the region including various Vodacom, MTN, Airtel and Orange subsidiaries. OMW is said to significantly expand its investments in people and resources across the continent.
Going forward, Utermark tells us that there are big plans to expand the team and that AdVine is currently recruiting for a number of key positions for SA as well as Africa.