November 8, 2021

The Telly Awards Podcast

Episode 2: Branded Content – Internal Creative Teams vs. Client Hired

When it comes to brand marketing, there is not one, single method that guarantees success. However, the same question does happen upon every marketer’s mind when developing strategy for branded content:  How much do you manage in-house versus outsourcing to a content agency or media publisher? The art in creating branded content lies in the delicate balancing act of building brand credibility, awareness, and integrity, while telling a clear, unique story without overtly pitching product. The questions we seek to answer is does that creative process become more or less difficult when working with a team outside of your organization? Are the goals the same? Or does the act of curation take on new meaning when suddenly the work is commissioned?

We invited two executive level heads of content, David Lennon, Executive Creative Director or Commercial at Fortune Media and Holly Fraser, Editor-In-Chief/Senior Director of Content at WeTransfer and WePresent to examine the differences and similarities behind creating work for clients as a brand publisher (Fortune) versus creating content for your own brand internally as part of an in-house creative team (WePresent.) 

Listen to Episode 2 of The Telly Awards podcast below:


The Telly Awards Podcast – the podcast that brings together two leaders from the video and television community, with similar expertise in different disciplines to share their craft, debate their differences, and find common ground in their forms of storytelling. Hosted by Executive Director of The Telly Awards, Sabrina Dridje, the series explores: What is different? What is common ground? What can we as an audience – and the speakers – discover from this analysis? These are some of the questions we aim to find answers to monthly, on The Telly Awards Podcast. Now available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Amazon Music and ACast. 
Do you have someone you think should be featured? Do you have an industry area you’d like us to compare and contrast? Get in touch with our Senior Producer, Dina Graham at for the chance to be featured!
October 19, 2021

From The Tellys

New Telly Categories: Hybrid Events, Sustainability and Recruitment

The 43rd Annual Telly Awards has officially opened!

This season we have expanded our category offerings to reflect an industry that has returned, equipped with new offerings and technologies. See our new honors below. 

The Telly Awards honors the best of video and television excellence, working alongside our Telly Judging Council to showcase breakthrough storytelling, by evolving our category offerings to reflect how creators have retooled to tell innovative stories across platforms. Our theme for this year, A New POV, celebrates the refreshed workflows that companies are using, and new perspectives they have to create diverse and important stories.  the work of st

To spotlight the new ways video is being created and to celebrate this year’s theme, we have introduced new honors for Hybrid Events, Sustainability, Workplace Culture and more. See our new categories below, ahead of the Early Entry Deadline on December 10th 2021

Brand New Honors for Recruitment

The workplace has drastically changed over the past two years. Employees are looking for new ways of working. New companies have been created during this time to meet real-world demands. Many companies have pivoted and refreshed their offerings to thrive in a transformed world. Diverse voices have been tapped to work both behind the camera and as below-the-line talent. 

Teams around the world are shifting, and in search of talent that meet their current needs. Video has become a key way to attract talent—we have introduced Recruitment honors across the competition to reflect how companies are seeking and attracting new talent.

Brand New Honors for Sustainability

As we navigate a worsening climate crisis, activists and journalists alike are using visual storytelling to raise awareness and spark global action. We have seen time and time again that video is a powerful way to disseminate critical information about pressing issues. This year’s new honors for Sustainability will celebrate the use of video and television to center stories about the current and future state of our planet. 

Brand New Honors for Workplace Culture 

Following an industry-wide reckoning, the healthy culture of a company is critical to attracting and retaining talent. This year’s new honors for Workplace Culture will celebrate the use of video to promote and sustain employee relations, including remote working structures, the hosting of purpose-driven internal events using video, or the facilitation of employee resource groups for communities to gather and support one another.

Honors for Education & Training

For nearly two years, the rapid increase in remote learning has been facilitated by our industry—from online classes and masterclasses to reskilling. New Education & Training categories across the competition will honor this work, whether you are using new ways to live stream content, create masterclasses for working professionals or use social video to share tutorials with the masses. 

Brand New Honors for Hybrid Events

Virtual events have become almost second nature for many. As the world slowly reemerges and live events return, many companies are choosing to offer hybrid solutions to provide access to a wider audience. Hybrid events include experiences that consider and execute both their in-person and online components with equal weight. Our new honors for Hybrid Events will honor the ways in which creators are seamlessly weaving video elements into these experiences.

Expanded Categories for Immersive & Mixed Reality 

Since our introduction of Immersive & Mixed Reality categories, the medium has continued to grow across secor, as well as in craft. We are further honoring the our industry’s creation of new, immersive experiences with additional categories including: 

  • Use of Livestream to reflect the leveraging of livestream video to make experiences available for wider audiences. 
  • Metaverse to honor the creation of collective, virtual shared spaces that converges virtually enhanced physical reality, and physically persistent virtual space. Sophisticated metaverses have been critical to the success of virtual events and experiences.
  • Use of Haptics to celebrate new ways developers are allowing users to engage with and receive feedback from the virtual environments they are navigating.


The Telly Awards honors work across Branded Content, Commercials & Marketing, Immersive & Mixed Reality, Non-Broadcast, Series/Shows/Segments and Social Video. 

Enter your work before The Early Entry Deadline on Friday, December 10th, 2021. 

October 18, 2021

From The Tellys

In Focus: British Broadcasting Corporation

Melissa Hogenboom is a multi award-winning science journalist, film-maker and editor at the BBC where she launched and leads the documentary site BBC Reel. She is writing her first book, The Motherhood Complex – it was released in May 2021 by Piatkus, Little, Brown (Hachette). She has written hundreds of articles, made short and long-form films for broadcast and digital, and has reported for radio and TV.

What motivates the BBC to create?

In short, our audience – making great content that our audience enjoys. I think we do this by telling stories that matter, either by intriguing them to find out a fascinating new historical or scientific insight, or giving solutions that can make a real difference, say in climate change. I also think it’s important to be able to tell inspiration and informative stories that take our readers away from what can be quite a negative news cycle. Of course people come to our pages for News, which is important, but if they can stay and also see something heart-warming or learn something new, then as creators we have done our job. 

How do you find inspiration for your work? 

This is always a tricky question to answer because honestly, everywhere. Overhearing conversations on the train, letting your mind wonder while you run, but I think most of all from talking to people. Brainstorms with colleagues can lead to such wonderful ideas, as can speaking to experts and freelancers. Often we are so busy we find it hard to really listen, we put on headphones, we immerse ourselves in our creative projects, but when we listen with an open-mind, that’s when ideas come to us. 

What are some of the challenges the BBC faced when creating content this past year? How did you overcome those challenges?

Working remotely has been taxing on everyone. It’s hard to have spontaneous creative discussions when we are all at home, but we made sure to keep in regular contact and have ideas sessions without strict agendas, which always leads to more collaborative discussions. We remotely directed films before the pandemic, working with a range of talented freelancers from around the world, so aside from the strictest lockdowns, we have actually been filming in person throughout the pandemic. We also experimented more with personal narrated mixed-media film-making ourselves, as well as working more closely with animators to bring content to life in new ways. 

What is your favorite memory of creating content this past year?

For me it was working on a TV and digital documentary called A Mother’s Brain – which was a personal journey into my understanding of what it means to become a mother and how our identity changes in the process. I spent a year researching this topic for a book ‘The Motherhood Complex’, so it was such a brilliant experience to turn all that research into a visual format. I combined my personal experience with scientific expertise, and brought (and filmed) my family along the way for the journey, even speaking to my own mother about her experiences. We worked with five different film-makers in five different locations, with a director/editor and post production team in yet another location, a true collaborative and international project. 

What is your secret to creating insightful, successful documentaries?

Collaboration and continually working with people with different skill sets – as we can all learn from each other. It ties into my earlier answer on listening. Also – hiring good people and giving everyone a chance to experiment with projects they can take full ownership of end to end – with guidance where needed of course. I benefited from that kind of trust early on, and it’s something I think is vital when working with creatives (but a gentle deadline always helps – because we can always keep tinkering).

What would your advice be for creatives looking to explore the boundaries of human relationships and science in their work? Are there any specific challenges that face that kind of subject matter? If so, how do you tackle these challenges?

When it comes to science, pick up the phone and speak to as many experts as you can – to find threads that make a compelling story. A challenge can be distilling the one idea into an engaging narrative because there always seems too much to include, which is when talking to others helps – a little bit of outside perspective can help us find the story that works. I think keeping an open mind can also help, we all have an idea of how a piece of content will turn out, but once we dive into a particular topic we may learn things that change the intended story and potentially make it even better. 

What, if any, are your goals for the upcoming year, creative, professional, or otherwise?

Write another book! I’m (half) serious – it was such a huge undertaking that I need a break from it, but it was also something that gave me a lot of creative satisfaction. Combining that with a full time job was challenging to say the least, but I found the writing process quite mindful and more rewarding in the evenings than, say, binge-watching TV shows. 

Professionally I’ve been super proud of some of the content coming out of our team – such as The Seven Sins – led by Anna Bressanin in our New York office, and Spiritual Awakening, originated by Griesham Taan. There’s too many good pieces to mention 


Congratulations on winning multiple Telly Awards this year, including a Gold Telly Award for the piece “How To Hack Your Health!” What does this recognition mean to you?

Deputy Editor and series commissioner Dan John said: It was great to win a Gold Telly Award for ‘How To Hack Your Health’ because it was such a collaborative project. It brought together the editorial teams of BBC Reel and BBC Ideas to develop a series together from conception to execution where each producer brought something to the project. It also represents how we had to completely rethink our approach to the project following the Covid restrictions, forcing us to come up with a new graphics led style that would enable us to use Zoom interviews in a creative way that felt totally in keeping with the overall aesthetic of the piece. For me it shows how we all had to adapt to the changing circumstances in order to still be able to tell compelling stories in a creative way, and so it was awesome to see that get this recognition.

July 6, 2021
Hot Takes is an original, monthly, Telly Awards interview series featuring a chosen industry leader and expert presenting an unfiltered, unrehearsed response to a hot button topic within their field. What’s your Hot Take? Get in touch with our Senior Producer, Dina Graham at for the chance to be featured!


In 2018, Frances McDormand ended her impassioned acceptance speech The Academy Awards with two words…”inclusion rider,” a stipulation that actors and actresses can ask (or demand) to have inserted into their contracts, which would require a certain level of diversity among a film’s cast and crew. What came next was an onslaught of press surrounding the term, a term that suddenly became the number one google search term of the month. Following the awards, many actors, including Brie Larson and Michael B. Jordan, came out in support of the rider, and studios around Hollywood began to appear on record claiming they would adopt it for their future projects, trending positive for diversity and inclusion in both casts and stories. However, in the years following the inclusion rider being catapulted to the limelight, both film and television struggle to keep equal representation when it comes to race, gender, sexual orientation, and more. If the rider was designed to increase diversity among casts and projects, one could ask…why hasn’t there been more progress?

The answer is accountability. Although the rider can stipulate studios and executives hire above a certain threshold of diversity, the measure of success for achieving such a threshold depends on actualized reporting of hiring statistics, a factor that was not originally required in the original rider. It also depends on the successful adoption of the inclusion rider beyond individual contracts. Now, three years after its public introduction, the inclusion rider has taken on a new form, a reimagined version of the stipulation that is meant to provide a template for companies to easily implement. Now that these changes and new tools are being made available to Hollywood executives, studios, and agencies, how exactly will this affect diversity, inclusion, and representation in the industry?

In this month’s episode of Hot Takes, we speak to Fanshen Cox, co-author of the original inclusion rider, about the uphill climb of cultural change in the industry, and how the rider is only the first step in achieving real change and impact. The road to equal representation does not depend only upon individuals demanding justice, but Hollywood actually delivering. The importance of diversity in an industry that quite literally shapes the way society views people and relationships cannot be understated. To achieve such change, Hollywood needs to put actions to its words and stories… in the form of truth, justice, and love.

Watch the episode below!


Fanshen Cox is an Award-winning playwright, actor, producer & educator.

In addition to being Producer and Development Executive at Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s production company, Pearl Street Films, Fanshen facilitates workshops and delivers keynotes on using narrative in empathy-building, exploring historical context, and how the construction of race affects our closest relationships. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, West Africa, and holds a BA in Spanish & Education, an MA in TESOL, and an MFA in TV, Film & Theatre. She has been honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards from CSULA and from Teachers College, Columbia University. Fanshen is a co-author of the Inclusion Rider which was announced at the 2018 Oscar awards by Frances McDormand and the co-creator and co-host of the Webby nominated podcast Sista Brunch-highlighting Black women striving in entertainment and media.

“When we think about telling truth, justice, and love in our stories, that can’t happen if the people making the decisions about what stories we see are limited in their perspectives. And they are.”

May 25, 2021

From The Tellys

Al Jazeera Media Network Named the 2021 Telly Company of the Year!

We are thrilled to announce that Al Jazeera Media Network has been named the 2021 Telly Company of the Year! Each year, this special honor recognizes the organization with the most success in the 42nd Annual Telly Awards competition, across Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Al Jazeera Media Network is the first non-U.S. company to win Telly Company of the Year, and reflects our commitment to honoring the global stories and creators. During a year marked by many changes, Al Jazeera Media Network has displayed great ingenuity to tell impactful and authentic stories from around the world. From pieces like A Day in Wuhan and Stricken Beirut, along with the About Cinema series, Al Jazeera Media Network’s work this season truly embodies the very best of creativity and quality across all screens.

Launched in 1996, Al Jazeera Arabic was the first independent news channel in the Arab world dedicated to providing comprehensive news and live debate. In 2006, Al Jazeera Satellite Network was renamed to Al Jazeera Media Network

Congratulations again to the entire team!

October 19, 2020


A Refreshed People’s Telly Award!

Enter The People’s Telly categories. Be Shortlisted by the Judging Council. Have your work shared and voted on by the global public!


The People’s Telly Award is back with an exciting new update! All pieces entered in The People’s Telly categories will now first be shortlisted by The Telly Awards Judging Council before being placed on our rating platform for the public to vote! Work with the highest average rating will be awarded the Bronze, Silver, or Gold People’s Telly Award!

Learn more below about why you should enter The People’s Telly Awards this year:

1. Get More Eyes on Your Work

Entering The People’s Telly is the perfect way to have your work seen by an international community of video enthusiasts and industry leaders. When your work is placed on our rating platform it is viewed by everyone from leaders at top companies, to other creatives and storytellers (as well as your own networks). All work on the rating platform can be shared and amplified by you and with the support of The Telly Award community!

2. It’s Another Chance to Win

Winning a People’s Telly Award is another chance to win a Telly Award and prove that you make innovative video work and help signal to the rest of the industry that you are at the top of your field!

3. Be Shortlisted by Telly Judges + The Public

Most importantly, if your entries are shortlisted, they will have been given the thumbs up by both our Telly Judging Council, and the general public! This helps give your work even more credentials and more views!

Be sure to enter The People’s Telly Award for the 44th Annual Telly Awards, and check out the rest of our categories for this season here

March 17, 2020

From The Tellys

A Letter from our Managing Director (COVID-19)

The Telly Awards serves an international, inspiring, and committed community of creative professionals and companies—large and small. The overwhelming impact of COVID-19 on our industry is evident, wherever we find ourselves in the production cycle—from exhibitors to production companies, freelancers to studio executives. This is a new era for us all and we are all adapting to our new normal day-to-day. 

Like you, all of us here at The Telly Awards are closely monitoring the situation and responding to it with a continued clear mission of deciding to remain open for entries in service to The Telly community and our mission to continue honoring video and television industries across the globe. 

To this end and in close communication with many of you, while we will currently continue to maintain a professional service and  have decided to keep our current schedule (Extended Deadline April 3rd, 2020), we encourage you to reach out to me or our team directly should you need any assistance or extensions and we will work with you collaboratively to ensure this happens.

We fully appreciate how this may be affecting you, your company and your colleagues and we want to be able to work with you in ways that are helpful and respectful of all the work created, produced, and distributed prior to or because of the current situation we are working within.  

Our Telly Awards Judging Council also remains committed to their work and will continue to judge all current entries with little interruption, wherever they may be in the world. In fact, the judges are reviewing more work daily, due in large part to the new reality of working from home so many of us are now facing. 

Lastly but equally importantly, we also remain committed to being an ongoing resource to you and to that end, we will be updating this page (and our social media channels) regularly with new articles, insights and useful information that are pertinent to our industry. Do not hesitate to reach out with any useful resources you come across and we will share with the community at large.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me or our Producer Taylor Griffin and as always, our Customer Service team who are on hand to answer any questions at or (212) 675-3555 and follow us across social channels @tellyawards. 

Wishing you, your colleagues, and families all best wishes,

Sabrina Dridje

Managing Director

Ongoing list of resources / insights / inspiration:

  • Tribeca Film Festival releases a short film a day that can be viewed here
  • Deadline’s ongoing list of halted / delayed productions here.
  • NBC Universal releases new films on streaming services in light of cinema closures, read article here.
  • Our partners and friends at Storyhunter facilitate shoots all over the world by hiring local talent – a great resource for those of you needing to produce global content. 
  • From our entrants FJ in Amsterdam, top 3 ways they are adapting to remote productions.


October 22, 2018

From The Tellys

Gold Winner Story: National Geographic

A Q&A with Telly Award Gold Winner National Geographic

Claudia Malley, EVP Partner Solutions at National Geographic Partners

We sat down and chatted with the team behind Gold-winning series, Chasing Genius: Inspirational Stories, a series of short form pieces documenting those whose ideas are changing the world. Be sure to find us at one our upcoming screening events to see the work on a big screen!

Where did the idea for “Chasing Genius: Inspirational Stories” come from? Do you have a story that has particularly stuck with you?

The idea for Chasing Genius is rooted in consumer insight that tells us millennials believe they have the power to change the world—and at National Geographic, we believe this to be true.

The Chasing Genius campaign is anchored by immersive editorial storytelling that showcases everyday people who are chasing their inner genius, thus inspiring others to think differently, share ideas and, ultimately, take action.

In an effort to ignite our Chasing Genius community, we identified several stories of individuals creating true global impact and curated them to create a short-form, mini-documentary series. Featuring real stories of people that bring to life the essence of Chasing Genius, each of the stories demonstrated how the spark of an idea could become a force for change in the world and, in turn, activated thousands of individuals to unleash their own potential.  

One story that stands out in particular is that of Kathy Ku. While spending a summer in Uganda teaching, Kathy experienced first-hand one of the biggest problems facing Ugandan families today: access to clean drinking water. Our mini documentary, “Spouts of Hope,” chronicles her experience teaming up with a fellow Harvard student and devising a solution.

What have you found is the key to making successful online series at National Geographic?

Simplicity, authenticity, and relatability are at the core of Chasing Genius and these are the elements that have also paved the way for our online series to break through an oversaturated market. Fortunately, these characteristics are ingrained in our organization’s 130-year-old storytelling DNA.

What new elements are you hoping to experiment with in video in the year ahead?

In addition to including previous Chasing Genius winners in the videos we produce for next year’s challenge, we plan to leverage our learnings as the leading brand on social media to bolster our content with Instagram stories and “tap-umentaries.”

Congratulations on your Gold Telly win! What does this win mean for you and your team?

The recognition and acknowledgement of our industry means the world to us. It inspires us to continue leaning into the National Geographic brand and purpose to identify like-minded partners that will help us engage our communities and create real, global impact.

May 28, 2017

From The Tellys

New features for the 39th Annual Telly Awards!

A note from the Managing Director

Sabrina Dridje

The summer is drawing to a close and it’s been an exciting one for us here at the Tellys! July saw the rollout of the first of many new initiatives revitalizing the awards for the multi-screen era, including the launch of this new site. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out our new feature articles page to stay up to date on how our peers are creating, distributing and monetizing video and television. Our latest piece features eko COO Jim Spare, discussing all things interactive video and engagement.

We also spent the summer programming events, panels and dinners that brought you together to meet, exchange ideas and in some cases, collaborate. We are thrilled to count leading  voices from Vox Media, Hearst Digital Media and Great Big Story amongst those we were able to spend time with. If you will be in NYC on October 19th, please do join us for our panel at NAB NYC with experts from Mashable, The New York Times T Brand Studio and Content Agency, Juniper Jones.

Over these past months I also continued to meet a number of you and ask you how we could better support your work and enable you to promote your work with a bigger impact. The result is a slew of new Telly categories, partners, jurors, and events that we will announce shortly, as well as two key updates to the competition we are excited to share with you ahead of our season opening in October:

Gold Telly Award: That our highest marker for excellence has been represented by silver for 39 years is a quirk that’s entrenched in our nearly four-decade history. However, from meeting a number of you and understanding that an absence of Gold is a confusing signal to the market, we are excited to introduce a Gold Telly which will exclusively be awarded to the top 3% of winning entries.

Winners Announcement: All Telly entries are judged against their own merits which has historically allowed us to notify you of your standing once your work was seen by our Judging Council. After discussions with many of you, we’ve realized that not having one single announcement date hinders your ability to effectively promote your recognition. With that feedback in mind, we are moving to one Winners Announcement date.

 As always, I am here for all feedback, suggestions or simply a hello at and be sure to sign up to our newsletter to stay in touch – we have a number of exciting new announcements to come over the next weeks!


October 21, 2015

From The Tellys

Celebrate Your Clients and Team This Holiday Season!

Leaves are falling, the air is crisp. That means one thing: holiday season is quickly approaching!

As a Telly Winner and a creator of the industry’s best video work, there are a lot of people who contributed to your project’s success. Recognizing your team and clients for their hand in your achievement is an important way to show you appreciate their hard work and dedication to excellence. And this holiday season is the perfect time to honor those involved in your Telly win. So, we’re offering to send a customized Telly Statuette and Holiday Card on your behalf to your clients and team.

Available at our Telly Store, the Telly statuette is recognized across the industry as the symbol of video excellence, and is a thoughtful reminder of the boundary-pushing work you created.

Telly Holiday Packages include:  

  • A custom engraved Telly Award, packaged in a sleek, fitted box
  • A full-color holiday card with a personalized message from you
  • Limited edition Telly Award gift wrapping, for a personal touch
  • Guaranteed and fast delivery for the holiday season


Note: Order by November 16th to ensure deliverability by December 3rd.

Visit The Telly Store to learn more about our Holiday packages, and order one today! If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Service Team at + (212) 675-3555