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Hat Trick backs new digital company from former LADstudios executives

Former LADstudios duo Ben Powell-Jones (left) and Thom Gulseven

UK producer and distributor Hat Trick is backing a start-up set up by former LADstudios duo Thom Gulseven and Ben Powell-Jones to bridge the gap between digital and TV content.

Strong Watch Studios has been set up by Gulseven and Powell-Jones with backing from Hat Trick, financial details of which were not disclosed.

It comes after Gulseven and Powell-Jones launched LADstudios as part of the LADbible group in 2021 and worked on online formats such as Minutes With, Snack Wars, The Gap and Agree To Disagree.

Powell-Jones and Gulseven’s fledgling company aims to use their experience to link the worlds of TV broadcasting and digital publishing by building a network of unscripted channels across digital platforms in the coming months.

The two will also work with partners who are looking to add a digital broadcast offer to their own brands.

Prior to LADbible Group, Gulseven worked at Channel 4 as commissioning editor and head of digital content strategy, while Powell-Jones served as an international formats exec at Endemol Shine, working across formats such as Tenable, MasterChef and Big Brother.

Gulseven said: “We’re obsessed with the gap between the two worlds of telly and digital –and how you fill it. We’ve been lucky enough to work on some well-loved TV formats, and work at the world’s biggest digital publishing brand – and we absolutely loved both. Now we want to bring together everything we’ve learnt, to forge a future that is the best of both worlds.”

Powell-Jones added: “As an industry, it feels like we’re all way beyond the era of clips and one-off virals, and the gulf between that world and TV. We’re firmly in a digital broadcast era now where long-running formats, digital IP with huge fandoms and the multitude of ways it can be distributed and monetised is more important than ever. We’re excited to launch content of our own, but if you’re a company looking to take digital video to the next level, we’d love to help you make that transition.”

Jimmy Mulville, owner and MD of Hat Trick, said: “Hat Trick has always been forward-facing and entrepreneurial. Digital content is a growing part of our industry’s ecosystem and I want Hat Trick to be at the forefront of that. What Ben and Thom did at LADbible in such a short period was cutting edge and has been imitated all over the industry.”

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