A Coventry-based media company is celebrating after retaining its contract with European football giants UEFA for a second year.
Skibbly Media will produce promotional trailers, interviews and background details on the 32 Europa League teams for broadcasters around the world, travelling across Europe to clubs in Spain and even Kazakhstan.
The company, which is based at the Coventry University Technology Park, beat well-known London-based competitors to secure the lucrative deal.
Founder member Chris Jones, 53, set up Skibbly Media in 2000 with Andy Cummins and Simon Phillips after losing his job at cable company NTL and admits that it was a bit of a gamble.
He said: “It was really tough at first, we all had to chip in and do everything.
“Satellite channels’ quality was really poor at the time so we worked as hard as possible to produce the best work.”
The trio began by making shoe-string documentaries including a series about kit cars called Scratching, which they then edited on a single iMac computer in rented lodgings.
Their hard work soon paid off, however, when they won an award in 2002 at a ceremony hosted by ITV despite only spending £3,000 per episode on their documentaries, a fraction of their competitors.
“It was very surreal that such a small outfit could achieve these heights so quickly.
“It gave us the confidence that we could compete with the best in the business,” said Mr Jones.
From there the company went from strength to strength, producing a documentary called Camper Van Crisis which became one of the highest-rated UK shows on the Discovery Channel.
The company gained invaluable experience working for UEFA alongside the likes of Reuters, Sky and the BBC before landing the current contract.
Last financial year Skibbly Media recorded a £1.6 million turnover and Mr Jones hopes to expand on its current eight-strong staff. Where as many other locally-based media companies have struggled in the recession, senior partner Laurence Archer, who joined in 2008, believes the company’s success lies in its ability to diversify.
He said: “Not only have we produced the football coverage, but we started by making good quality, cost-effective documentaries.”
“We offer London quality without London prices and can offer some of the best TV facilities in the West Midlands,” he added. “Despite the perception that the industry is London-dominated, the location is favourable, and in terms of football coverage, we are within driving distance to teams in the North and South as well as lots of airports.
“Although we’re all hoping that Villa can progress in Europe and save us a journey or two!”