Tell us about the company – when it was founded, by whom and with what objective
Never.no was founded in 1999, by Lar Laurizson, a Norwegian creative genius. The company was originally a technology solutions business, with a crack-team of coders providing software for flows and managing data. Some of this would go into traditional development, such as website build, but in essence the approach was about how to improve digital delivery in general.
The company slowly evolved into the broadcast sector, where the initial ideas of what our content management platform, Bee-On, is now - focusing on audience engaged formats. Never.no were the creators of the very first automated music jukeboxes, people could pick up the phone and send an SMS to vote for a music track, which would influence the end result, in real-time. It’s a precursor to where we are now in terms of developing an easy-to-use platform for data management, particularly social, and publishing into or changing broadcast graphics in real-time.
Fill us in with how the company has developed and grown to the present day
Skipping ahead, Never.no has certainly been through a series of changes over the years, to the point where the team are using their long-established experience and expertise in audience engaged services to create a platform launched six years ago, originally called STORY, and now Bee-On, following the brand-change last year.
Our team have specifically grown off the back of a range of world leading projects. Manipulating real-time graphics with data and live broadcasting – driving interactive jukeboxes and games well before mainstream social media interaction – enabling us to understand what audiences want and how the broadcast industry works. We’re proud of the latest development, Bee-On, which gives content providers the tools to manage rafts of social data, including live content, polling, trends, pictures, videos, and competitions to moderate and publish into real-time graphics, across multiple platforms, via traditional broadcast or digital.
To-date, our staff spans across the globe, managed from our base in Manchester, supported very closely by our development team in Oslo, Norway, and reaching to Sydney, Australia and North America. One of the most notable milestones is seeing the established broadcasters, such as Viacom, BBC, SBS, Sky, Al Jazeera and many others across Asia, and the Middle East, working with our platform – that’s a true seal of approval from the industry.
What is your secret sauce - why do your customers choose you over your competitors?
It’s quite a mix of ingredients, the tools and the people behind it are the main factor. The feedback we get from clients is firstly the second to none support, but also the robustness of the Bee-On platform, which is needed in such a demanding sector, where there’s no room for downtime, not even a split second! The dedicated development team keep their fingers on the pulse and constantly update API’s to ensure connectivity with social media platforms, and frequently offer new tools such as Chrome extensions, Twitter Trends and more integrated messaging features. It’s important to offer an end-to-end service alongside a SaaS solution; our team have a mix of experience from broadcast, sports, brand marketing, and everything in between, so they have an understanding of what viewers want and can support with a content-based, and technical background.
What has been your biggest successes and challenges in 2020?
We can safely say – “wow, what a year”! It’s been difficult for all, but we’ve adapted as an industry and seem to be going into 2021 with a positive outlook. Both viewing trends and production workflows have changed exponentially, so we’ve all had to be proactive and create new ways of working. As a cloud-based solution we’ve enabled content providers and brands across multiple platforms work remotely to create high-quality, captivating content.
It’s been a proud moment for us, helping traditional broadcasters and streamers bridge the gap between content and the audience stuck at home, supporting shows like ITV’s The Martin Lewis Money Show, developing an innovative front-end interactive interface for Telemundo’s US election coverage, and enhancing streamed content for Sky’s weekly Portrait Artist of the Week show on Facebook Live. We’ve also expanded our client-base within sports, as Premier League and A League football clubs have captured the power of fan engagement and produced match-day shows streamed on social, reaching fans globally beyond standard broadcasting, featuring cloud graphics, audience generated content and real-time polls!
What are the company’s goals for 2021?
By December 2021 we expect to be way-past the pandemic and working within a new progressive and open-minded industry. As mentioned, we’ve had to adapt in so many new and innovative ways and meet rapidly evolving trends with media workflows, content creation and media consumption. We have exciting plans for our cloud-based content management platform Bee-On, that will continue to support broadcasters, digital content providers and brands’ needs to enhance audience engagement like never before. 2020 was the catalyst for the adoption of cloud-based solutions, so we expect to see an almost fully virtualised and connected industry, this time next year. As a business, we’re looking to make strides in the US, and consolidate our work with traditional broadcasters, plus build on the success of supporting content providers using digital platforms.
What trends should we look out for next year?
We’ll soon see audiences back in the studios and fans in stadiums, but the last eight months will have shown producers how they can connect with them on a global scale. We expect to see audience engaged content becoming more prevalent in live and pre-recorded programming, across platforms – all powered by cloud-based solutions. Content will evolve to include complementary technologies such as Augmented Reality; add social and real-time data to that mix, then it becomes a fabric of the show, rather than just a bolt-on and you’ll see more interactive and immersive socially-led content. Furthermore, 5G will immediately enhance acquisition and delivery of content beyond the primary screen, enhancing viewer experience more than ever.
As an IABM member, what services do you most value and why?
We took the decision to join the IABM in the wake of lock down, with the cancellation of global industry-wide events; it was important for us to stay connected and ensure we had the opportunities to network and collaborate. IABM have given us the platform to do exactly that, stepping up and driving worthwhile virtual events suitable for everyone! We’re looking forward to sponsoring December’s BaM Live!™ event and building our relationship with IABM and fellow members in 2021.