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Hat Trick produces scripted and non-scripted programming predominantly in the comedy genre but is expanding its slate to include factual entertainment and digital output. Head of digital Jonathan Davenport started his career at Granada and Endemol before moving to Hat Trick in 2006 to set up the company’s digital department.
MD Jimmy Mulville
Head of digital Jonathan Davenport
Development producer Andy Mettam
Bryony Makes a Zombie Movie
Have I Got News for You
What was your breakthrough multi-platform project?
Probably Bryony Makes A Zombie Movie. With that we stumbled on a great model for creating content that can work brilliantly online and on TV. The concept of tapping into an existing online community - in this case the fanbase of YouTube’s Bryony Matthewman - rather than building a site and trying to persuade users to visit is obvious yet still rarely used. We were able to work with Bryony on creating an viral hit, which asked the internet to help her make a zombie movie. This then led to the online documentary we were commissioned to make by the BBC, and the BBC Three show.
What’s your next big multi-platform project?
We’re in the middle of Chartjackers for BBC Switch. This is a community-based factual entertainment show which challenges four YouTube legends to crowdsource a hit single for Children in Need in ten weeks. They’re total novices and have no money but do have a legion of fans online to help them and hopefully buy the finished single. We’re making five-minute weekly episodes covering the entire process, which go out in BBC Switch’s Saturday lunchtime BBC2 slot, online-only video blogs and a half-hour show telling the whole story.
What sets you apart in your approach to multi-platform?
Hat Trick has always prioritised relationships with talent, traditionally in comedy but now also online. We’ve been developing links with a handful of key internet personalities and spend a lot of time devising cross-platform and broadcast formats to showcase their talents. I’m amazed no one else has realised that if someone is massive with a particular audience online, it’s likely the same audience will want to watch that person on TV, given the right project. Someone like Chartjackers’ Charlie McDonnell actually has more subscribers than most digital TV channels have primetime viewers.
What’s the biggest challenge in producing multi-platform work?
The biggest challenge is still to come up with ideas that are tailored to the new media landscape, rather than merely bolting familiar online elements onto existing TV brands. There should be more cross-platform ideas getting through, and not just at the BBC, which seems to be the only broadcaster in the Uk that’s interested in this space.
What’s the biggest myth about multi-platform?
Probably that KateModern actually did get the reported kazillion views it’s alleged to have done.