Cat and Mouse execs join Microsoft for new Skype-based TV project

The founders of TV technology firm Cat and Mouse have left the company to work on a new Skype-based TV solution for Microsoft, TBI has learned.

Cat and Mouse specialises in studio graphics and software and interactive solutions for TV shows and live events, working with a range of producers and broadcasters, largely in the UK.

Official filings reveal four of the senior management have now left the company and TBI understands several are working for Microsoft and its voice unit Skype.

Cat and Mouse managing director Simon Lucas has been listed as a principal project manager at Microsoft for the past four months and Cat and Mouse creative director Carl Blundell is now a principle programme manager at Skype.

Meanwhile, Cat and Mouse project director Simon Latus has also left the company, as has company secretary David Burton.

Cat and Mouse developed the CatCall Skype-based system that allows video and audio from Skype to be integrated into broadcasts allowing for a range of interactivity to be built into TV shows.

UK series including Britain’s Got Talent companion series Britain’s Got More Talent and Embarrassing Bodies Live From the Clinic have utilised the CatCall solution.

The Cat and Mouse execs now working for Microsoft are understood to be working on a more advanced product that will integrate Skype and TV in new ways. A source told TBI that it will be a “massive improvement” on CatCall.

Other Cat and Mouse staff now Microsoft employees include programme manager Solmar Cataldi.

Filings show Cat and Mouse’s official base is now in London. It still has an office in Crawley in the UK, but that will close within weeks a staffer said.

Cat and Mouse worked on shows including Big Brother, Dancing on Ice, 5 Minutes to a Fortune, Pointless, Test the Nation, The Voice and Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

Some of that work has been taken on by Kinetic Pixel, a new firm based in Caerphilly and founded by Craig Hann and Joe Styles. Hann was a show designer at Cat and Mouse, working on the interactive elements of programmes including Endemol’s Test the Nation and Pointless until last October. Styles is also an ex-Cat and Mouse employee. The firm was recently recruiting for London-based technical staff.

The new company will handle technical elements for live events and entertainment series including interaction and graphics systems.

Microsoft in the UK and US declined to comment. A spokesman said the tech company “had nothing to share”.