Skype has transformed the way we make phone calls and now video calls over the web. The Microsoft brand is synonymous with communicating across the globe at cheap if not free rates. The brand name itself has become part of every day business vernacular and appears in most indvidual's email signatures who do business around the world.
While Twitter and Facebook often get the most attention as the tech and media platforms that work best with TV, Skype has recently made some big leaps in working with some of the world's biggest formats and shows. Transatlantic Entertainment, based out of London is the company responsible for brokering many of these partnerships for Skype. We interviewed Gideon Joseph the founder and CEO of the company to learn more about why Skype is important to TV and how the relationship has evolved over the years..
Found Remote: Why is Skype important to Television?
Gideon Joseph: Skype has allowed broadcasters, producers and creators to talk to audiences – whenever and wherever they are – without the cost of traditional outside broadcast costs or fixed studios. That is incredibly exciting and has democratised the ability for consumers to join a conversation around anything from a news report to a game show. Skype is important to TV because as resources dwindle it can also be a tool for innovation and co-creation. New formats and ideas, designed with Skype at their heart, are constantly being developed, such as NBC’s upcoming adaptation of ITV’s Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway format, and that’s a contribution to something really meaningful – culture.
FR: What does your company do? How do you work with TV networks and Skype?
GJ: I believe brands either have to be useful or entertaining to cut through the mass of content we consume. They can no longer bombard their way into culture. At its most basic, Transatlantic Entertainment helps brands achieve that cut through. More specifically, we call ourselves a partnerships agency that specialises in helping brands align and integrate with a range of media and entertainment owners.
The USP of Transtalantic Entertainment’s offer is that we do not see what we do as a clunky extension of a media buy or akin to old school product placement. We see ourselves as delivering strategic integrated content-led campaigns which have editorial credibility at their heart. The ability to speak to a network executive or studio head instead of a sales team allows for the creation of custom-made deals which are mutually beneficial and sold with the buy in of creative (critical in my experience). To do that we have a team of experts, not generalists, who have all been at the top of the media and marketing tree. I believe this is the only way to deliver quality to a client nowadays and is a disruptive approach to an old “time” based agency charging model.
We work with Skype specifically by helping them build a deep and sustainable relationship with the media and entertainment industries across the world, for example X Factor UK and Britain’s Got Talent (both distributed widely internationally), India’s Got Talent and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. We provide them with creative, commercial and legal support, as well as looking after campaign management where appropriate. We are based out of London, with satellites in Brazil, India and shortly in NYC.
FR: How has Skype changed over the years in terms of its relationship with TV. How does it differ from other social platforms and their relationships with TV?
GJ: In the old days, Skype’s consumer platform was used in a broadcast setting. That caused real issues for producers in a gallery who wanted more control of the product and to ensure higher levels of call quality. So, without a doubt, the most exciting and biggest change has been the launch of our Skype TX product which is a professional hardware/software solution for broadcasters and improves both call quality and audio as well as giving much more control to producers. The product has been incredibly well received at shows like NAB and is now shipping via our three manufacturing partners. At its core the ability to become a broadcaster with limited resources has never been easier. To me that is incredibly exciting and means creators of any ilk can connect with consumers in simple and innovative ways.
I think the other way that Skype has changed is that it has been able to help format creators innovate through using our features like Video Messaging, Group Video Calls and even Instant Messaging through Group Chats. We work hard with partners like Fremantle and VICE to begin to give consumers the opportunity to use Skype in a variety of ways across different platforms. In the future I see this use of Skype for participatory TV and cross platform functionality as key to our success and also as a way for producers to give much richer experiences to the audience at home.
FR: Can you list some examples of some of the successes from your recent work with Skype and TV?
GJ: Most recently we facilitated an exciting partnership for Skype with India’s Got Talent which has featured on air integrations, talent group chats and social content in the form of webisodes .This is a really exciting partnership because it has allowed us to enter India with a powerful partner and have some unique content to showcase.
At the smaller end of the spectrum, I am very proud of the work we have done with Jack’s Gap who use Skype to help them create some beautiful and powerful video content. The Collaboration Project is a lesson in brand storytelling using Social Talent.
Finally, I think the work we have done with VICE News is worthy of mention as they are using Skype to interact with a new, younger audience who are passionate about so many things, yet don’t always have a voice with which to be heard. Through the use of Skype TX and our other tools we have really opened up a channel for them to create interesting and engaging content.
FR: Anything else?
GJ: Skype remains one of the most interesting and rewarding brands to work with because the interplay between its function as a tool and its ability to co-create genuinely innovative format opportunities is very exciting. I see this increasing as time goes on and partners becoming more and more enthusiastic about the opportunity to talk to an enormous base of followers and fans who love Skype so much.