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Sky’s Emma Lloyd on why the giant broadcaster invests in small startups

Tim Green

The next big thing could come from anywhere...

Ten years ago everyone in TV was getting excited about set top box gaming and the transformative power of the red button.

Plainly, these two big ideas went nowhere (or at least not in the direction originally intended) .

Instead, we got ‘second screening’. In households the world over, viewers turned to their tablets and phones to comment on what was on their screens.

No one saw this coming. And, like so many disruptive ideas, second screening was a ‘bottom up’ idea engineered by small companies and accelerated organically by consumers themselves.

Today, the major broadcasters realise the big new trends in TV are more likely to come from an agile TV-based startup than their own R&D departments.

So they’ve started to invest.

Sky, for example, took a stake in the second screen pioneer Zeebox in 2012.

TV-based startup Zeebox had developed an app with its own electronic programme guide, which gave viewers the ability to organise channels according to personal preference.

They could also search for more info on programmes, actors and eve ads – and interact with other viewers of the same shows.

Eventually, Sky integrated Zeebox technology into its own suite of TV apps, including the Sky+ remote record service and Sky Go, the online live TV viewing platform.

The Zeebox deal was a good example of how Sky is now scouring the tech space for suitable TV-based startup ideas to invest in.

Emma Lloyd, business development director at Sky, says this process is extremely important. “For Sky to remain at the forefront of the media and entertainment sector, we need to be finding the best startups and partnering with them,” she says.

To learn more about Sky’s investment in the TV-based startup space, view the video above.