Advanced Television

Bazalgette’s Base79 expands

October 24, 2011

By Chris Forrester

Digital rights management business Base79, backed by Peter Bazalgette and Kelvin MacKenzie, is expanding. It has made two high-profile hirings: Gulliver Smithers joins from ITV as Base79’s CTO while Gideon Summerfield joins from the BBC as Head of Project Management.

Base79 gets its name from the atomic number for gold. The pair will join Base79 to drive the company’s expansion into the connected devices market, focusing on the development of new products and applications for SmartTVs.

During his time at ITV, Smithers oversaw the roll-out of the ITV Player across multiple platforms, headed ITV’s YouView project, launched several television channels in the UK and managed the outsourcing of ITV’s transmission operations. Prior to this, he worked on the development of digital TV hardware and software at Strategy & Technology Ltd and spent two years at BSkyB managing Sky’s interactive advertising products.

Prior to joining Base79, Summerfield spent over three years at the BBC, where he oversaw the expansion of the BBC iPlayer onto multiple connected platforms. This included working with device partners Sony, Nintendo, Sky, Microsoft, BT and Samsung to adapt the service to new devices, as well as managing an award-winning HD catch-up service for Virgin Media.

“The increasing number of connected devices on the market is leading to greater demand for high-quality, on-demand content,” commented Ashley MacKenzie, CEO, Base79. “With these appointments, we now have a strong and uniquely qualified team capable of building technology platforms for connected devices and SmartTVs.

Base79 is the new name for ‘myvideorights’. The Company has grown substantially since it started in 2008 and currently manages a content portfolio that generates over 375 million views per month.


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