Could Niio be the platform to take video and new media art mainstream?

FAD MAGAZINE Quayola (UK), Camouflage (2018), Moving Image, 6 min 4 sec, Edition of 30, Commissioned by Niio.com
Quayola (UK), Camouflage (2018), Moving Image, 6 min 4 sec, Edition of 30, Commissioned by Niio.com

Niio is the world’s premium digital video and media art platform. Headquartered in Tel-Aviv, with operations in the US, Asia and the UK, the platform is used in more than 40 countries, with a network of more than 4,000 artists, galleries, collectors and curators and hosts a collection of more than 12,000 pieces of moving digital artworks.

Founded in 2014 by Rob Anders and Oren Moshe with a mission to empower media artists and inspire people everywhere through seamless access to high quality moving image art, Niio’s secure, patented technology enables art professionals to safeguard, showcase, publish and distribute their multi-format works, which can then be discovered and displayed by collectors, consumers and corporations alike, on-demand, and shown on any type of screen or digital canvas

It is the largest, most advanced and most ambitious collaborative ecosystem in the world, dedicated to enabling and unlocking the digital medium of video and new media art like never before. The platform is working on ways to bring moving art into new and exciting locations, including public spaces, homes and office. We managed to catch up with co-founder Rob Anders to ask him about the platform in more detail.


Portrait Rob Anders Niio

Can you give us a lowdown on the NIIO platform? What kind of formats can Niio deliver and how much work can you host and deliver?
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.

Niio takes a unique ‘collaborative ecosystem’ approach to enabling the medium, offering artists, galleries, curators, and museums the chance to each have their own branded account on the Niio platform. We aim to empower art professionals with a broad set of dedicated technology tools to store, preserve, publish, privately and publicly distribute, and professionally play back their digital format works. This has in turn positioned Niio as the default moving image art repository and management tool.

Niio was created to support all types of digital formats from still images and photography, to rich media such as generative code-based art works, interactive art, AR, VR. We deal with the master uncompressed files of up to thousands of gigs per file and can offer unlimited storage.

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.

FAD MAGAZINE Joe Hamilton (AU), Cezanne Unfixed (2018), Moving Image, 3 min 41 sec, Edition of 50
Joe Hamilton (AU), Cezanne Unfixed (2018), Moving Image, 3 min 41 sec, Edition of 50

What are some of the main challenges you came across when first setting up the platform? What was the initial reaction in the gallery world?
Access and maintaining value were the greatest challenges facing artists and collectors when we set up the platform. Art is a scarcity market, and typically you might associate a model that allows for streaming of artworks as being targeted to the mass market.

Our answers to those challenges were rooted in the technology, and giving complete control of the tools we developed to the artists. Just as when purchasing a physical masterpiece, collectors want to own digital artworks that are not consumed by the masses. We spent a lot of time early on implementing blockchain and AI technology to underwrite ownership of artworks obtained through Niio to ensure that people were confident in the integrity of the platform.

You mentioned partners can use the platform in various ways could you explain the various levels
Our partners are very broad as we are dealing with an ecosystem. The range broadly from:

• Art professionals, including artists and galleries who can now reach a broad audience on Niio, and are always in control of their art.
• Curators, who benefit from discovery, curation and delivery of their shows for both online and offline viewing.

This gets even more exciting when you add other entities to part of the mix including:

• Competitors offering digital art subscription services or works for sell, that use the Niio platform.
• Art Advisors that have access to broad catalogues of works from galleries around the world and can use all of the Niio technology to securely and easily deliver these works to any screen with all the transactional elements taken care of.
• Architects and designers who would like to bring dynamic, moving art experiences to the spaces they design, and now can do so through Niio without the heavy lifting.
• And finally, even the world’s leading HW companies like Samsung, who we have global hardware partnerships with to ensure end customers have easy, on-demand access to the Niio Art on any screen, leveraging global infrastructure of local resellers and installation companies.

This is why it’s a collaborative ecosystem. It is a massive play, leveraging core competencies of all involved.

• As well as artists and galleries using your platform to deliver work to both private clients and more general customers, do you see yourself offering a similar service to that of O2 where they work with various brands like Tesco via an MVNO kinda set up

Our platform is by far the most comprehensive and robust technology platform for the management, distribution, and display of multiformat moving image art content. Niio has been built to enable third parties to sit on the platform under their own brand. They can promote their art either privately, or on the Niio marketplace, and are able to embed all of the technology within their own website.

Beyond this, we have been approached by a number of entities who want to totally white label our end to end technology stack, but until now we’ve held back. Niio is a combined brand, community, tech platform and broad curated content offering. For now, this is where we focus our effort because we believe every art entity – established and emerging – will eventually have their own Niio account as standard.

If I partnered with NIIO would I be able to deliver AR, VR or Mixed Reality artworks to anyone in the world at any time anywhere provided they had the right kit to view it?
Yes. You would be able to do so with full control over what they can do with those works, if there is any cost associated, you could pull them back at the click of a button and have full log of all that happens with the work.

You mentioned that you were starting to employ AI on the platform could you explain how and why?

This is ultimately to enhance user experience for consumers and creators of the art content, through data insights. Data on artwork preferences, categories, genres, geographies and most used devices helps us look at new trends for AI curation (alongside human curation) and personal matching for individual customers in their specific locations.

We are also interested in the relationship between different artwork types as we have huge amounts of metatagging and curatorial data when the art is uploaded into the platform.

Can you tell us about any cool stuff you have planned for 2021 ?
2021 has so many unknowns given the COVID impact but we genuinely feel this is a moment of opportunity to leverage all we‘ve been preparing over the past 5 years. It’s as if we’ve been laying the pipes for this very moment.

Broadly, we aim to introduce a number of new offerings for people at home to experience Niio Art in totally new ways. This includes for the first time, loans of limited-edition video works at the click of a button.

We also want to open the platform up to more art professionals. Currently we have around 4,500 artists and galleries, with around 3,000 on a waiting list and we’ll soon provide free tools to empower the community.

We’ll also be announcing some very high-profile partnerships both within the art world and with outside strategic partners. We’re very fortunate to be backed by both leading international VC’s and also some of the most influential art world collectors and influencers.

As the market is really taking off, we are also looking at a number of strategic acquisitions to cement our position.

MORE: niio.com

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine Founder and co-publisher Art of Conversation and founder of the platform @worldoffad