Interview with Rob Anders, CEO of Niio

We spoke to Rob Anders, ceo of Niio, the world’s premium digital video and media art platform, who tells us about his vision for art in the digital age and how he has survived lockdown.

1.Can you give us a lowdown on the NIIO platform?

Niio is fast becoming the standard, ‘go-to’ platform for moving image art, making premium video and new media art accessible on a global scale to a global audience, and offering a fresh alternative to the mundane and traditional streaming media.

The company was created to inspire and connect people through moving image art, which is perhaps the most relevant medium of this generation, while also empowering video and media artists to showcase, safeguard and earn from their art.


2. Can you explain what you mean when you talk about ‘art for a digital age’?

Artists tell the story of the societies they live in, and they do so through the medium that best resonates with their audience. Sculpture and paintings are the mediums widely synonymous with the art world, but that is evolving. We live in a digital age, defined by technology and the growth of the online world, and that is reshaping the way we experience art. Increasingly, it means software and film have become the paint, the screen has become the canvas and a new destination for art. At Niio we specialise in this new generation of moving image artworks.

The next generation of art enthusiasts and collectors consume and experience everything online, that is why we call it the digital age, and that is what the art world is starting to adapt to. This has already extended to other areas of culture with the emergence of streaming giants in the firm and music = worlds. Art is experiencing the same shift, because people crave access and unique, meaningful experiences, and Niio was founded with a mission to meet that demand. The screen is the natural environment for that shift to take place: it is a digital canvas that is accessible globally, and creating artworks that are designed to be experienced through it is a solution that satisfies artists, galleries, collectors, and the art-loving public.


3. How did you go about finding a way to best present art digitally?

We are different to a virtual museum or gallery, where you might view physical works online. All the artwork that is hosted on Niio was created with the sole intention of being viewed through a screen. The possibilities are vast, it means the same work could be streamed into your home cinema or phone, or onto the screens at Piccadilly Circus or Times Square.

In order to achieve this, we had to perfect the technical ability to deliver high-quality moving image artworks of different formats that could play on any screen, and ensure that experience was as meaningful as experiencing a physical artwork in a gallery. Artists create artworks with a vision for how they will be experienced, so we have worked closely with them to ensure that when these high value digital assets are distributed, and they are viewed as intended.

Context is also crucial, and the digital world presents more possibilities for exploration and education. When you are viewing works through Niio, the experience enables a virtual introduction to the artist’s catalogue, what influences and inspires their work, and the process of creation. People who love art want to learn about it and understand its history, and because we operate online that process is seamless and more comprehensive than something that a physical space can deliver.


4. How has the lockdown period been for you?

The lockdown has presented challenges for every business, including Niio. But it has also created an environment which has rapidly accelerated the digitisation of the art sector, so there’s never been a more relevant moment for moving image art and for our platform.

This period has also given us time to reflect on how people are engaging with art, and in how we grow our audience. The majority of our clients to date have been B2B, including Samsung and Hilton and Marriott Hotels, but as people become disengaged with the mundanity of the main streaming and media news we can offer something exciting and new.

We’ve responded to the COVID-19 situation by launching ‘Moving Art for Good’, a project to bring moving image art directly into people’s homes to give them that crucial dose of daily inspiration. The first step of this was the curation of a collection of moving image artworks as Zoom backgrounds which are free to download. The response has been phenomenal and has driven thousands of people onto the platform. What we have learned as a business is that there is a strong appetite for moving image art in people’s private spaces, as well as the public spaces that our B2B clients exist in.