Creative industries

The creative industries are one of the sectors most primed to take advantage of digital technology. Data driven technology can help increase discovery of new content and allow creators and distributers to reach a wider audience than ever before.

Our recent work in creative industries

Scoping a regional innovation system for Bath Spa University

We helped Bath Spa university to understand the regional innovation system through a programme of primary and secondary research. We used design led thinking in order to evaluate the university’s current innovation strategy and opportunities within the local and regional enterprise ecosystem.

Open innovation challenges in creative industries

British Film Institute

As part of the Innovate UK funded Cross-sector exploration contest we worked with the British Film Institute (BFI) on a challenge related to using data to understand and connect with cinema audiences”. The challenge explored ways to extend the experience of watching a film to reach audiences before, during and after the cinema experience. Digital tools and services were sought that could create new forms of analytics which improve the theatre’s understanding of its customers and by extension, to enhance their relationship with those customers.

The winning company Tempster built a mobile app, UsherU, which allowed cinemas to sell empty seats to local consumers in real time. Users were able to favourite their local cinemas and get notifications when they ran last minute special offers.

Live Nation

As part of the Innovate UK funded Cross-sector exploration contest we worked with the Live Nation on a challenge related to engaging audiences at music festivals. We helped them to define a challenge that looked for novel approaches to enable music festival producers to understand their audiences better and to be able to provide music fans with a more engaging experience. A digital solution was sought to gain behavioural insights for customer engagement, retention and commerce opportunities and to enhance the festival experience beyond the attraction of the festival headliner.

The winners, Crowd Connected, built Colocator, a cloud-based software platform for tracking mobile connected devices. The software turns customers into a connected sensor network and uses aggregated location histories to provide real-time predictive analytics. It harvests, stores and analyses aggregated location data using signals from mobile phones, wearable devices and other connected hardware.

Penguin Random House

As part of the Innovate UK funded Cross-sector exploration contest we worked with the Penguin Random House on a challenge related to reading analytics. The challenge looked for ways in which publishers could gain more direct information and analytics about how their ebook content is being consumed digitally. Digital solutions could embed a tool into the original ebook file to enable subsequent tracking of information for publishers or it could monitor how users highlighted and bookmarked particular segments and sections of ebooks.

The challenge winners, Jellybooks, built Project Crowberry, a solution which embeds custom-built Javascript into e-book files. Readers are then incentivised to click the links in order for the publisher to track reader behaviour. The idea was to emulate the success of Google Analytics, which tracks how browsers interact with websites through a small Javascript file that is included in every webpage.

LIFT Festival and Saatchi and Saatchi

As part of the Innovate UK funded Cross-sector exploration contest we worked with the Lift Festival and their advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi on a challenge related to engaging audiences at urban festivals. Urban festivals have the unique opportunity to utilise mobile technology to offer innovative and personal experiences of the festival to encourage engagement in the event. A challenge was created to discover new innovative ways of using mobile technology to engage with a younger audience across a city-wide nomadic festival in multiple venues; and to gather greater audience data through a more interactive, responsive online experience.

Adio, who won, created Elevate, mobile app based on an evolving radio schedule, curated to present an engaging mix of background, contextual and supplementary audio content.

Syco Entertainment

As part of the Innovate UK funded Cross-sector exploration contest we worked with the Syco Entertainment on a challenge related to digital analytics for talent scouting. While digital has helped to create new channels which allow musical talent to emerge such as YouTube or SoundCloud sifting through the endless amount of new online content can still be a very labour intensive and costly process.

There will always be a need for human judgement to be the ultimate arbiter for good talent, however digital can play a role in helping those wanting to find new talent to narrow the field of choice. We helped SYCO Entertainment to set a challenge to look for tools and services which can help to automate the process of spotting new talent online.

Vidiro, who won, worked with SYCO Entertainment to build an analytical system to support them in detecting new talent for the X Factor TV show by automatically scanning YouTube for emerging artists. The system was successful and resulted in business for Vidiro who further developed the solution to meet the needs of brands and agencies looking for talent to work with on influencer marketing campaigns, and by record labels to support their A&R activities.

British Library

As part of the Innovate UK funded data innovation contest we worked with the British Library on a challenge related to enhancing the value of public domain data. The British Library had a large collection of material in the public domain available through online platforms such as Flickr however, once this material was released into the public domain they had no way of tracking how it was re-used. We helped them to set a challenge to find a successful solution to allow public institutions to better quantify and optimise the economic impact of releasing content into the public domain.

A dashboard called Visibility, was built by New Fictions, the winner of the challenge. It proactively searched for British Library’s content on the web and gave a detailed breakdown of where, how and who it was being used by.


As part of the Innovate UK funded Cross-sector exploration contest we worked with the Barbican on a challenge related to enhancing audience interaction with cultural programmes. The sheer range and number of events within cultural organisations’ programmes can make it difficult for visitors to intuitively discover opportunities that might be of interest. A challenge looked to find innovative digital solutions to animate the breadth of the Barbican’s programme; and to facilitate unexpected discovery to enable a personalised visitor experience.

The Hub, created by winners The Project Factory, is a search tool which provides a new way to explore the Barbican’s programme of events, using thematic and conceptual descriptions along with emotional responses to select content, rather than solely genre categories.

Ingram Content Group

As part of the Innovate UK funded data innovation contest we worked with Ingram on a challenge related to processing data efficiently. This challenge looked at ways in which ebook sales data could be more efficiently harvested and presented to book publishers. Solutions needed to look at ways to capture and present data that could be standardised and simplified, so that publishers would be able to expand their distribution beyond a handful of major digital retailers.

SystemSync Solutions, the winner of the challenge, built an ETL (extract-transform-load) tool architected on top of public cloud file-sharing services like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive, which enabled eBooks sales data to be collected from disparate international retailers and presented the data back to publishers in a consistent and standardised manner.

Since winning the, SystemSync have gone from strength to strength. They raised £800,000 seed investment in March 2015 and in December 2015, they raised a further £800,000 of investment, as part of an equity investment round of £1.5 million. They are now looking to close this round by raising an additional £700,000.