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AT New Media's Paul Comben

Game Boy AT New Media is a U.K.-based licensing agency set up in 2006 to specialize in the multi-billion dollar market for interactive digital content. It works with content owners, content publishers and developers and lice

April 6, 2018

3 Min Read

Game Boy

AT New Media is a U.K.-based licensing agency set up in 2006 to specialize in the multi-billion dollar market for interactive digital content. It works with content owners, content publishers and developers and licensees. i1_571.jpg

Chief executive officer Paul Comben grew up in licensing: He worked at Universal Studios, World Wildlife Fund and Design Rights International before joining Activision to acquire licenses. He then set up Mobile Brands, which specialized in pub games and console and mobile games.

Comben works with AT's chief operating officer Steve Manley—who saw the licensing potential for Crazy Frog—and business development director Simon Kay, who is an interactive games licensing specialist.

As digital gaming grows, AT New Media has taken brands into interactive gaming for the first time, including ITV Global's Coronation Street and Dancing On Ice, Scholastic's Horrible Histories, Matchroom Sports' PDC Darts, Paramount Pictures' Mission Impossible, EA Sports' FIFA and Tiger Woods, News Corp.'s The Sun and Aardman's Wallace & Gromit.

How is AT New Media organized?

There are three divisions in the business. AT Brands is for rights owners who wish to extend their brands into interactive games or other content types for multiple platforms.

AT Content is for developers and publishers of interactive games or other content types—such as screensavers, wallpapers, videos, animations, ring tones and greetings—who wish to secure licenses. AT Merchandise is for the owners of interactive media platform brands or characters who want to expand through merchandise licensees and retailers.

Whom have you worked with?

Gummelbär (Gummy Bear), Urban Free Flow (parkour), Fremantle, ITV Global, Endemol, Games Media, Studio Canal, Lionsgate, Party Gaming and LazyTown. We've just signed DCD Media for Richard Hammond's Blast Lab.

We're hearing more about format shows moving to online gambling.

Online gambling is the platform of the moment—and we have done some deals in this area. We are retained by FTSE 250 business Party Gaming. But it is rightly highly regulated, and the regulations differ from country to country and is illegal in the U.S.

Do you aim to be in on the beginning of a franchise?

We like to think that we are working with championship-level brands with premiership-level potential. Some licensors have no business in any category outside of their core, so we are trying to come up with the right game or the right platform at the right time—and deliver in a way that exceeds expectations.

What has Nintendo Wii done to this market?

The Wii has opened up the market for family gaming—more people are playing because of the broadened platform. This is not only an opportunity for new brands, it's a great opportunity for mature propositions that are heading for decline. It's a really good time to consider gaming.

Do you have any unusual clients?

We're working with maze and maze puzzle creator Adrian Fisher. He has a tremendous amount of IP that has never really been exploited. We've come up with some concepts, designs and example screen shots for potential mobile, Web and PC and console games.

What's the potential for that market?

It is reckoned that the hardware and software market is bigger than the world cinema ticket market, and it is certain that gaming sales are outstripping other entertainment businesses. It's a growing activity, and there is a growing number of platforms. Added to this is an in-built, structured growth as a result of the technology moving on and the launch of new versions of platforms.

What is the next big thing?

More interaction—for example multi-tasking where people use split screens and connected gaming, which is play with people in different locations. More iPhone games, other Mac products and the next generation of consoles.

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