2021 – what a year it was for FX Digital. It wasn’t just a great year for us, but also the OTT and Connected TV landscape, with streaming on big screens accounting for 73% of global viewing time. The pandemic has continued to play a large role in the streaming surge, with mind-blowing predictions for the space in years to come, including how there will be nearly two billion active subscriptions to on-demand video services by 2025.
For FX, 2021 was a remarkable year despite the challenges we all faced in the context of navigating the pandemic while growing as a business. With some epic highlights throughout the year, we take a look back on some of our teams’ greatest achievements in 2021 as we look forward to what the new year brings for the business.
A new dawn for FX Digital 📈
Kicking off 2021, we began with just 28 team members. By the beginning of 2022, we had successfully managed to grow our amazing team to 58 members, symbolising the immense growth we are continuing to see as a business. As well as this, we also grew our leadership team as we welcomed onboard a new Operations Director, Head of Growth and Partnerships and Product Lead. We are extremely fortunate to have grown this incredibly diverse team with people from different backgrounds. We even hired remote workers as far afield as Brazil and Mexico, and have implemented new policies and ways of working to ensure the team is as collaborative and engaged as they can be, no matter where they are in the world.
2021 also marked the 10 year anniversary of FX Digital; a huge milestone for the business and for Co-Founders Matt and Tom. After initially starting their modest website development company from Matt’s family home in 2011, Matt and Tom decided to take the business full time in 2014 and in 2015 hired their first team members. Fast forward to today, the business has now become one of London’s leading technology companies with a strong team of specialists on target to double revenue for the third year in a row.
As well as growing the team and celebrating the ten year anniversary of the business, FX Digital rehomed in summer to Old Street in East London, away from our base in Brick Lane that served the business since 2015. The team moved to Bentima House located next to the Silicon Roundabout, close to the hustle and bustle of Shoreditch. The new office is equipped with showers, secure bike storage, a rooftop terrace with breath-taking panoramic views of London and plenty of private meeting spaces and quiet areas. Bentima House is a place we are truly proud to call home, allowing the team to really immerse themselves in the unique and engaging culture that FX has created and continues to evolve.
Monumental app launches for clients 📺
2021 was the year we really turned the heat up when it came to Connected TV app launches, launching cross-platform applications for big-name brands such as Discovery, ATP Media, Eurosport and GCN across a plethora of different platforms.
Discovery’s new standalone streaming platform, Discovery+, currently boasts 20 million subscribers across the globe, and we’re thrilled to have been chosen as the Connected TV partner to help bring their content to a whole new audience.
2021 also saw us work closely with ATP Media on their brand new streaming platform, Tennis TV, which launched in early 2022. FX rebuilt their existing Tennis TV application for initial launch on 9 different platforms.
Following the success of our Eurosport Player project with Eurosport in 2019, we once again joined forces to provide a premium viewing experience for their extensive coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. We worked with Eurosport on their web-based TV application which is supported across Connected TV platforms and games consoles to ensure viewers were at the heart of the Olympic action.
Another successful project saw us collaborate with the Global Cycling Network to create their new feature-rich TV application, GCN+. This new premium live and on-demand streaming service caters for avid cycling fans around the globe. This ambitious project saw us launch the application in Europe and North America, presenting cycling fans with a ground-breaking new streaming service never seen before.
In what was a tremendous year for FX Digital in terms of app launches, we also entered the world of live theatre by collaborating with the Royal Shakespeare Company to deliver an innovative and boundary-pushing project, Dream Online. This ambitious project combined performance and gaming technology, uncovering new ways for audiences to experience live theatre. It saw us create a ground-breaking and immersive website for the RSC and its consortium the Audience of the Future (AotF).
Crowned award winners 🏆
Being recognised for groundbreaking and boundary-pushing work is something we constantly strive for at FX, and last year we were thrilled to take home a number of prestigious awards recognising us for our work.
In May, the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA) announced its annual BIMA 100 for 2021 which recognises the individuals who are shaping the future of Britain’s digital industry. We were ecstatic to see our Co-Founder and Creative Director Tom Smith recognised as one of the leading pioneers in the digital and tech industry. Tom was selected in the ‘Challengers & New Thinkers’ category which recognises his hard work in influencing significant change in developing and driving the tremendous growth of FX Digital.
In September, the Creative Industries Council announced its CreaTech ‘Ones to Watch’ list for 2021, highlighting 100 businesses from across the UK working at the intersection of creativity and technology. We were named in this year’s list for the innovative work carried out on the Dream Online project in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
In October, we were recognised in The Drum Recommends Awards for Digital, winning the Digital Innovation award for businesses of all sizes. We also took home the award for Mobile development (businesses with 40 – 99 staff). These awards were based on client reviews and ratings, so it meant a considerable amount to the team to take home two awards based on their ratings and feedback.
Events are back 🎪
Last year, the pandemic continued to impact the events industry, limiting the number of in-person events we were able to attend to grow our network and scope out new business opportunities. As restrictions began to ease throughout the year, however, the team were finally able to pack their bags and set off to attend some industry-leading events.
In October, a few of our team jetted off to attend Sportel Monaco. Sportel Monaco is one of the world’s leading sports content media rights and technology conventions, and gave our team the chance to engage and network with world-class experts in media rights, broadcast solutions, TV networks, OTT, media tech, sports marketing and communication. We will also be present at Sportel Miami taking place in March.
November saw us closer to home at the SportsPro OTT Summit which took place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. This event brought together global leaders in sports broadcasting, with our team present to pick up new and exciting trends from the world of sports media, as well as look for potential business opportunities from a number of exciting brands, organisations and sports teams.
In December, the team were due to exhibit at the prestigious IBC Show, one of the world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology shows. Sadly, IBC 2021 was cancelled on 23rd November following growing concerns about the COVID-19 situation in the Netherlands. Our extensive planning and preparations for the show have not gone to waste however as IBC took the show online and our founder Matt appeared on the panel about Transitioning to TV as an App. We are looking forward to exhibiting at IBC 2022, taking place between the 9th and 12th September.
FX has a number of exciting industry-leading events that we’ll be attending over the course of the year, with the first trip for 2022 taking place in the U.S at SportsPro OTT Summit USA. We’ve got plenty lined up this year and can’t wait to get out to all of these exciting and industry-leading events planned.
Formed multiple partnerships 🤝
Over the course of last year, we found it imperative that we further bolster our services by forming multiple partnerships with forward-thinking companies that share our vision. In 2021, we successfully partnered with a number of companies including Mux, a platform that enables developers to build unique live and on-demand video experiences, as well as THEOplayer, a leading provider of universal video playback technologies. In addition to those mentioned, we also partnered with Metrological, a Comcast owned company that helps TV operators and content providers bring OTT services and TV apps into the living room.
We’re thrilled to have announced these partnerships over the course of last year and have several new and exciting partners to announce in the coming months.
Launched our new podcast 📻
At the beginning of last year, we had ambitions to launch our own podcast focussed on OTT and Connected TV. Meticulous planning and preparation from our podcast team soon turned this dream into a reality, successfully seeing us launch The OTT Cast in the summer of 2021.
The world of OTT and Connected TV is often shrouded in mystery, so we set out to craft a solution for those with an interest in Connected TV to help them get closer to this space than ever before. With in-depth interviews with influential and knowledgeable experts from across the industry, we developed a podcast that acts as your one-stop-shop for all things Connected TV.
We have been fortunate enough to welcome some incredibly passionate guests to the podcast. Series one includes a roster of FX Digital team members, all giving a detailed insight into their roles and their take on this incredibly fast-paced industry. We began by focussing series one on the different departments within the business to help the audience gain a better understanding of the dynamic role each team plays in the success of FX. Season two which is to be launched in 2022 will have a particular focus on external bodies such as clients, partners and stakeholders of the business.
You can listen to The OTT Cast here or begin by listening to our first ever episode with Co-Founder Matt Duhig below. Don’t forget to share the podcast and leave us a review!
Our demo app took flight 🚀
To give our clients detailed insight into our expertise and to showcase some of the possibilities of Connected TV apps, we have recently created our own demo app, FX OTT. Our passionate team worked incredibly hard to develop and build a stunning showcase app for our clients and partners, which if you are interested in seeing, you can contact our team to schedule a demo today.
FX OTT has also become the frontend application for our new partner Skylark. The Skylark team chose FX OTT to be part of Skylark demonstrations, allowing customers to see how a streaming platform solution can curate content efficiently whilst also providing a compelling user experience across Connected TV devices.
Schedule a demo of FX OTT with our team.Schedule a demo
Looking ahead to 2022 🎆
In what has been a monumental year for the business with substantial growth across revenue, clients, capability, and the team, we now turn our attention to 2022 and look at what the new year can bring for us. It’s an incredibly exciting time to see our business grow from strength to strength in the OTT and Connected TV space with the OTT industry expected to double in size by 2023.
The last year at FX Digital has shown how we’re creating an environment that brings passionate people together to learn, collaborate and have fun. From their humble beginnings in 2011, Matt and Tom started the business because they were incredibly passionate people that enjoy being surrounded by like-minded individuals who share their vision. The passion and subsequent friendships that this creates are essential for the future success of the business, and we can’t wait to continue growing in the years to come.