© Screenshot, Sky Deutschland

Media Group with a Passion for Innovation – A talk with… Sky PLAY!

Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Bundesliga broadcasts. The average consumer associates Sky with all that and much more. Yet the media group in Unterföhring does not want to limit itself to television alone. Sky is now getting involved with startups, namely with its PLAY innovation program.

Please tell us about yourselves!

PLAY is the new open innovation program from Sky Deutschland. In October 2016, we started looking for ideas to take entertainment as we know it today to a whole new level! After being selected, PLAY participants receive support from our four-member PLAY team, made up of frontend, backend and app developers plus a product designer. Participants are also supported by a team of eight mentors, which consists of experienced and well-known founders and entrepreneurs. The team includes Freya Oehle (spottster), Niels Dörje (HolidayInsider, OnPage.org) and Yacine Coco (TalentRocket, Catchys).

“With our current team of mentors, we feel we can offer the right person to support virtually any concept,”

Katja Kraemer, Head of Open Innovation – Start Up Management, Sky Deutschland.

What do you focus on when working with startups?

It differs from case to case, and is predominantly determined by the idea and team’s current stage of development. If the idea is still in an early stage, then it is a matter of determining the focus, which then serves as a foundation for developing a prototype and an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Other teams who have already defined their focus concentrate on other topics, such as building their team. PLAY offers every participant a custom-tailored, flexible program as well as an equal partnership.


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To be successful, a startup needs to…

In addition to the small steps they have to take, a startup needs to always stay focused on the big picture, meaning their long-term vision and strategy. Those who manage to balance both and are able to answer questions about both areas will be able to win over potential investors and employees in the end.

Involve the user at the right time

Why would a good startup even need a startup center or accelerator to back them?

We believe there are an infinite number of amazing concepts for the future of entertainment both within and beyond our organization. PLAY gives these concepts an exceptional platform and a targeted framework where innovators and founders can find the resources, contacts, support and know-how they need.

What is the biggest mistake a startup can make?

Major mistakes can be very different depending on the situation. A startup should always prepare for negotiations professionally and have a defined plan for how they would like to present their ideas in an organized way. Another stumbling block can be determining the right point in time to get users involved in product development, in order to validate or adapt hypotheses based on test results. At PLAY, we prepare every participant for these kinds of situations.

The trend of the year is…

There are so many exciting developments right now. Virtual reality, mobile entertainment and edutainment are just some examples of the trends we are involved with at the moment.

An exciting interplay between tradition and modernity

What makes the Munich startup scene so special?

The Munich startup scene is distinguished by a sound framework composed of initiatives from the Bavarian state government, established companies, creative agencies, universities and a large number of highly skilled employees. There are very few cities that offer such an exciting interplay between tradition and modernity. It creates a fertile breeding ground for new ideas and business models. This close interaction is also reflected by the Munich Bits & Pretzels Founders Festival.

Moreover, the greater Munich area is an attractive location for startups in the media and entertainment industry. Because of its large number of successful global and local brands, Munich has enormous potential as a location for individuals wanting to launch a startup and also for founders looking to win over potential investors for their ideas. This differentiates our location somewhat from other startup centers in Germany.

Last but not least: whom should startups contact if they would like to meet up with you?

You can simply contact us directly, which means anyone on the PLAY team. If you are not able to get ahold of us in person during an event, our contact details can be found here.