We’ve established ourselves as the leading provider of live-streaming to the luxury auction world, with our ground-breaking & award-winning work with Sotheby’s. To expand their audience and overcome the obstacles presented by COVID-19, we helped Sotheby’s throw out their 300-year-old rule book and usher in the auction of the future. Our approach garnered international acclaim – with headlines in British GQ, the New York Times and Forbes – and helped revolutionise the entire industry.
“We were faced with an unprecedented challenge: how to conduct our most critical auctions in an entirely new, virtual environment. Chrome Productions delivered a creative & compelling solution that met a variety of significant business challenges – and the award-winning results speak for themselves.”Mitra Amestoy, Head of Content & Creative, Sotheby’s
Chrome developed an entirely new virtual event template that enabled virtual auctions by combining the technology of live sport broadcasts & real-time bidding with creative filmmaking to create a ground-breaking and industry-leading content experience that entertained a wide audience and was easily & securely transactional for art-buyers across the globe.
“The breakthrough moment was the realisation that auctions, though global events given their clientele, didn’t need to be tied to any one geographical location” said Joel Mishcon, Founder & CEO, Chrome Productions. “This opened up the opportunity for us to use cutting-edge technology and our production expertise to completely reimagine how Sotheby’s conducted business, and ultimately allowed them to operate during the incredible challenging times COVID-19 presented.”
After an intense planning phase, Chrome quickly assembled a global production team of 49 in London, New York and Hong Kong to design sets, develop a proprietary technology solution, make camera selections, and build the networking infrastructure across three continents.
In addition, Chrome also worked with Sotheby’s to create almost 200 film assets that covered every work of art that was up for auction. These assets were made available online via the Sotheby’s digital catalogue in advance of the event.
For the final broadcast, we designed a unique system that fed multiple camera streams from each of the global sale rooms through local control rooms and then to a master control room in London. This feed was then streamed in real time across Sotheby’s website, its proprietary bidding platform, social media platforms and on broadcast TV via Cheddar.
“Being on the rostrum tonight was like being at the epicentre of a cinematic production. We would never have envisioned, even a few months ago, that it would be possible to hold a series of flagship New York sales as an unprecedented live-streamed event, with banks of telephone- bidding colleagues beamed in from around the world. But, just as throughout its 276-year history, Sotheby’s was ready to pivot at a moment’s notice – and tonight we redefined the boundaries of what is possible.”Oliver Barker, Auctioneer & Chairman, Sotheby’s
This first-of-its-kind approach allowed for $363.2 million in sales to be realized across 3 continents, in real time, on one evening. Moreover, our approach created a platform that captured the entertainment of a live auction, virtually, with Forbes noting that the format was a “far cry from the usual dry video streams of sales rooms.” Given the ability to invite the masses to view the stream without changing the experience for the participants, viewership grew from about 2,000 per auction to over 1 million viewers – virtually overnight. The event garnered headlines from the art press – Artnet called it “the slickest looking live art event in history” – and the traditional media such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and British GQ – with one article calling it “better than Netflix!”. The most fitting comment, however, was a tweet that flashed across the screen within the broadcast that simply noted “Who needs Glastonbury when you’ve got Sotheby’s online.”
“In a week where many auction houses vie for the attention of the same clients, this strategy immediately differentiated Sotheby’s from its competition” commented Robert Chew, Chrome Production’s V.P. of North America, “and, in doing so, also set a new standard for the entire industry.”