Ex Channel 4, Endemol and LADbible execs Thom Gulseven and Ben Powell-Jones have launched Strong Watch Studios; a digital-first broadcast company aimed at “plugging the gap between TV Broadcast and Digital Publishing” backed by Hat Trick Productions.

Says Gulseven; “We’re obsessed with the gap between the two worlds of tele and digital – and how you fill it. We’ve been lucky enough to work on some well-loved TV formats, and work at the world’s biggest digital publishing brand – and we absolutely loved both. Now we want to bring together everything we’ve learnt to forge a future that is the best of both worlds.”

Strong Watch Studios will build out its own network of unscripted channels across all digital platforms in the coming months, as well as working with partners looking to add a Digital Broadcast offering to their own brands.

Powell-Jones: “As an industry, it feels like we’re all way beyond the era of clips and one-off virals, and the gulf between that world and TV. We’re firmly in a Digital Broadcast era now where long-running formats, digital IP with huge fandoms and the multitude of ways it can be distributed and monetised is more important than ever. We’re excited to launch content of our own, but if you’re a company looking to take digital video to the next level, we’d love to help you make that transition.”

Gulseven and Powell-Jones launched LADstudios as part of the LADbible group, introducing  formats to the publisher’s output with shows such as Minutes With, Snack Wars, The Gap and Agree To Disagree amongst the slate of digital hits.

Under their tenure, LADstudios won commissions from Facebook, Tiktok and the BBC, whilst building out a portfolio of shows on Snap and taking the LADbible TV YouTube channel to 2.5 million subscribers. They also worked with celebrities such as David Attenborough, Dwayne Johnson and Billie Eilish, launched chart topping podcasts and created a sponsorship model for LBG’s list of commercial partners.

Jimmy Mulville, owner and Managing Director at Hat Trick said: “Hat Trick has always been forward-facing and entrepreneurial. Digital content is a growing part of our industry’s ecosystem and I want Hat Trick to be at the forefront of that. What Ben and Thom did at LADbible in such a short period was cutting edge and has been imitated all over the industry. We’re excited to have Strong Watch Studios as part of the group.”

Before LADbible Group, Gulseven worked at Channel 4 as Commissioning Editor and Head of Digital Content Strategy (Made in Chelsea, Skins, Misfits, Mashed), while Powell-Jones served as an International Format Exec at EndemolShine working across formats such as Tenable, Masterchef and Big Brother.

Jon Creamer

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