Last word in going digital

 

Under the Radar/Random Thoughts Media:While Eamon Dunphy might not be as ubiquitous as he once was on radio and television, he is one of the few top Irish personalities to make the leap into the digital domain. You can now catch Eamo and his caustic remarks twice a week as part of mobile phone operator 3's content service.

This is all courtesy of Random Thoughts Media, a Dublin-based company specialising in digital media content. The brainchild of journalists and producers Éamon Carey and Daire Whelan, the company was set up last August.

With stints working on Newstalk, Setanta Sports and RTÉ behind them. the two decided to breach the digital space and produce content for mobile phones and the internet.

Having worked in the media and armed with an extensive contacts list of well-known personalities, they felt confident of coming up with an interesting proposition.

Pouring their own money into the venture, Carey and Whelan acquired office space in the Guinness Enterprise Centre off Thomas Street. Within a few weeks, they had signed up Dunphy and 3 for Dunphy's Last Word On Football.

That deal began to open more doors and the duo subsequently produced shows such as The Snug, a rugby programme fronted by George Hook and Brent Pope for O2's network and content for Eircom and Leinster Rugby.

According to Whelan, digital media was always the place they wanted to be. "It was obvious where the next development was going and we saw the gap in the digital space.

"As far as we know there's no one else specialising in what we're doing, which is specifically made for mobile/internet TV. So when we got the first gig with Dunphy's show on 3, all the doors opened from then. During that time companies were saying, 'You do exactly what we're looking for', so we got in at the right time.

"It's like anything in business, you need to get in early but not too early and it seems to have paid off."

The company's speedy rise and reputation have been cemented by being shortlisted for one of the Content 360 awards at the annual Mipcom television festival in Cannes next week.

Random Thoughts, the only Irish entrant to be nominated for one of these awards, will compete against two Korean finalists in the cross-platform formats including DMB (Mobile TV-Centric) section. Sponsored by the Korean broadcasting commission, the section focuses on cross-platform interactive ideas which centre on a mobile TV proposition.

The Random Thoughts entry, Streetskills TV, has developed what it calls "fan-generated content". Essentially this allows users to send video clips of their best sporting skills, with the funniest, best and most interesting being broadcast in a regular mobile TV show as well as being made available on the internet, with the possibility of a TV programme highlighting the winner and the best of the rest at the end of the series.

"Content 360 encourages companies to set up ideas for the digital space," said Carey. "It's a way of stimulating ideas and trying to get people to think about not just producing a show but making it interactive, cross-platform and commercially viable as well. I think 500 companies from 40 different countries applied for the category we're nominated in and it's now down to us and the two Korean companies."

The Mipcom event will also be a chance for Carey and Whelan to network with telecoms groups, TV companies, commissioning editors and other people in this area. "We have an eye on Britain, the USA and Europe," said Whelan.

"We want to go international. That's where it's at; you need to be in the international space. Even if we don't win the award, it opens more doors for us and gets the name out there."

ONE THE RECORD

Name:Éamonn Carey.

The Business:Random Thoughts Media.

Age:27.

Personal History:Born in Dublin and went to school in Belvedere College. Studied journalism in Griffith College. Worked as a freelance journalist, went on to be a producer/presenter in Newstalk, RTÉ and then set up Random Thoughts.

Family:Single.

Ambition:I'd like to take Random Thoughts to an international stage.

Most Admired Person:I admire anyone who has the guts to take a hard decision, and those who can admit they made a mistake.

Inspired By:My parents and grandparents. They've always been there, always been supportive and have always been proud of me. They set an example of how to stick together through thick and thin.

Favourite Song:Alive by Pearl Jam.

Most Likes To:Socialise.

Name:Daire Whelan.

The Business: Random Thoughts Media.

Age: 29.

Personal History:Born in Dublin. Educated in Trinity with an MA in journalism from DCU. Went on to become a producer in Newstalk, Setanta and set up Random Thoughts.

Family:Getting married in June.

Ambition:To take Random Thoughts as far as possible.

Most Admired Person:Roy Keane. I have such admiration for his single-minded determination to do what he thinks is right and best in the face of the naysayers.

Inspired By:Roy Keane. A great example of modern Ireland and how we shouldn't accept second-best. We're not here to make up the numbers, we're here to win. Good business message there as well.

Favourite Song:Talk Tonight by Oasis.

Most Likes To:Play sport, read and spend time with my fiancee.