Posted on July 1, 2019 by staff

‘We’re the fastest in the world – and we’re not leaving the UK’


A London company whose software is used by hit US TV stations and Australia’s National Rugby League has no plans to relocate despite boasting world-leading clients.

AIM-listed, cloud-based video software firm Blackbird was founded in 2001. The core of its product was a technique for compressing video, called a codec, which would revolutionise the speed that video could be uploading and edited.

CEO Ian McDonough, who joined in September 2017, said the company is still world-leading. “We say we’re the fastest in the world and we’d challenge anyone to say that we aren’t,” he told BusinessCloud.

Under McDonough, the business has focused on taking Blackbird’s browser-based editing suite to professionals and semi-professionals. Its international client-base includes broadcasters working on live sports and live news.

It recently secured a two-year deal with the Australian National Rugby League, allowing editors in Sydney to begin putting together video packages six seconds after a try has been scored.

“It’s all about speed for them, and getting the content from a try being scored to social in less than a minute. That’s where we come in with our very sophisticated tools, but lightning quick,” said McDonough.

“There’s a lot more competition out there for sport clips, and there is a need for it to be put out there faster than anyone else can effectively pirate it.”


Its agreement with entertainment giant A+E Networks continues the firm’s North American growth, and follows other deals with household names including Peloton, MSG Networks, Deltatre, IMG and TownNews.

The company’s potential to profit from the US market is revolutionary, said McDonough.

“As the business expands we should follow where the business is and the American market is huge. It’s not just the number of people but the complexity of the media market,” he said.

“[In the UK we have] a few regional television stations [whereas] they have thousands and tens of thousands of media publishers, and the tech giants on the west coast.”

While a US expansion could be on the cards for the firm, its base will remain in the UK.

“I don’t think we’d ever move wholesale over to the US,” he said. “We’ve got a unique and well-established development team that will not be moving to the US anytime soon, they love it here in Wimbledon.”