London Calling!

Published 02.10.2018
A strong presence in the UK market is desired by the Media Cluster companies. Over the last year the likes of Motitech, Mediability, TicketCo, and Sixty have all established offices in London to expand their businesses and broaden their access to both suppliers and customers. We had a chat with Sixty CEO, Kjetil Horneland, on their recent expansion.

Sixty, the interactive TV company, based in Bergen, has landed numerous deals and partnerships in the past year. Integrations have been announced with Avid, Idonix, Huawei, Opta and Gracenote to mention a few. At the SVG Nordic Summit in Media City Bergen in January, Steve Hellmuth, EVP Media Operations & Technology for the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced a partnership with Sixty for the use of Ease Live for NBA's global OTT platform (NRK Hordaland, January 16). 

Sixty's Ease Live solution distributes new and interactive on-air graphics to viewers across multiple platforms, providing interactive graphics both for live sports and studio productions. It also enables two-way communication with end users, linking directly back to the studio. The dynamic potential of separating video and graphics can produce a step-change in efficiency, flexibility, and power. 

– It’s increasingly clear that by combining video and graphics prior to distribution the broadcast industry is limiting the opportunities provided by OTT and multiscreen. Breaking the chains between video and graphics frees the industry to provide personalised TV, increase two-way communication with the viewer, gain insight and revolutionise how advertising is delivered, Kjetil Horneland, CEO, Sixty, said in an interview with SVG Europe during the IBC Show earlier this month.  

We had a chat with Horneland on Sixty's recent expansion and their plans for the future. 

What is the motivation for setting up an office in the UK?

– The launch of our new office in the UK demonstrates our company’s significant growth and business success, illustrated by the multiple partnerships and collaborations we have been able to announce in the past 12 months. Our company holds a huge potential in shaping and influencing the broadcasting sector and how people engage with content, Horneland says. 

– Our global presence has grown exponentially over the last few years and this will play a fundamental role in developing our position in the UK, particularly at a time when broadcasters are really starting to embrace interactive TV viewing. This move reflects our rising ambition and desire to help broadcasters from all over the world engage with their viewers and elevate the viewing experience through interactive technology.

Kjetil Horneland, CEO, Sixty.

What does Sixty hope to achieve by entering this market? (and why is London an important market for Sixty?)

– The new office on the Southbank Central is our first foothold outside of Norway, so the move to London is a significant milestone in our company’s history – both in terms of future expansion and strengthening our global reputation. Innovation in the media industry is happening all over Europe and London continues to be the heart of European TV, broadcasting and technology, especially with regards to the sports industry, Horneland explains. 

– Some of the world’s leading broadcasters are based in London, as are some of our key partners and customers. With a base in the UK, we can better support these companies and continue our mission to make TV interactive in the hands of the end user - enabling new value to be created on top of the existing TV value chain, he says.

Ease Live lets the user dive in to the producer’s pool of information. In addition to integrating highlights, editorials and other supporting content to the TV stream you can make TV an interactive experience by integrating data from any source. This lets you communicate with audiences, run polls and leverage new content and create new revenue streams. 

You have successfully set up your operation in the UK. What is the next step?

– The next step for Sixty is to open more offices around the world in order to have a truly global and intercontinental presence for our customers. We believe New York will be a natural fit for our next office; it will enable us to enhance our presence in the United States and deliver even more attractive and highly interactive live sports experiences that will inspire North American sports fans, Horneland says.

Staffing up

Sixty has acquired renowned industry experts to help them achieve their goals of a global presence. In the Bergen, Norway headquarters Sixty added Øyvind Lundbakk (CBO) and Espen Gabrielsen (CFO) to expand the leadership team. The London office is growing with the appointments of Gary Ellis (VP TV Technology) and Adam Bowley (VP Broadcast Technology). There have also been new board appointments with Nils Arne Bakke (former CEO of Altibox), Peter Sany (former CIO in Deutsche Telekom) and Edvin Austbø (investor).

Want to know more about Sixty and their solutions? Visit them here