Tuesday, June 08, 2010

What Business Are You In ?

I'm lucky enough to spend some of my time advising businesses, sitting on Boards and acting as a consultant. Naturally, I'm asked what I've learnt from my life in business and my successes and failure.

Most of the time, the answer has to be 'I screwed up' or 'I got lucky'. Yes, sorry, luck and timing seem to count for more than hard work in my experience.

So, my main answer to this question has to be 'decide what business are you in ?'

In the past two centuries, up to the Second World War, brewers replaced water supply in cities. Water wasn't safe to drink, beer was,and was very weak. People didn't drink to be drunk, they drank what was safe. (How things have changed.) Brewers were in the water supply business.

BAA used to run a bunch of airports until they figured that they were in the shopping mall business and started to make real money before selling out to a Spanish company when they maxed out their market.

So, production companies are in the audience delivery market. Producing content is cheap and easy. Making it appealing to audiences and then retaining those audiences is a different proposition.

I wonder how many production companies have figured this out.