03/01/2012

By Ben Weiner, CEO, Conjungo

Since the onset of the Internet and the growth of the way in which organisations transact and market themselves has drastically changed. There are many examples of this, in particular the retail market. The problem of course is that people in the case of fashion is that people would like to see the items for themselves and of course try for ‘fit’. These days you can visit a retailer and find what you like and then buy it online. Many companies have embraced this and changed their business practice to accommodate this schism.

The biggest change of course has been within the music and film rental market. We’ve see many similar film rental units go out of business and desperately attempt to change their business model from renting films then games to selling games, DVDs and games consoles while the answer lay under their noses...or I should say on their PC's.

The problem is and I'm sure I'm very typical, is that I often used to rent a DVD at the weekend but failed to take them back due to being busy at work. I was therefore landed with a fine which was more than I had I bought the film. And of course these companies, perhaps understandably are pretty rigorous at getting their money. As a result, people get annoyed and the company gets a bad reputation and people think why bother? Especially as you can have films sent by post and return them by post and keep them for a fair old time. Way more convenient.

Now there are media systems where you can watch films on demand and pay per view. This means that you don't need to worry about going to the rental store and picking a film that everyone will be happy with (assuming that your family aren't with you at the time), you don't have to worry about returning it on time, you don't need to worry about changing your mind three hours later when you've found the time to watch

These systems let you watch the film in HD if required, rewind, fast forward, pause and replay as many times as you wish within a given period. Much, much more convenient.

Furthermore, you now have the ability to download films on the Internet or use the BBC iPlayer which is also very good. ITV and Channel Four have their own versions, also very good.

So these rental shops I suspect have done too little too late and failed to embrace new technology and the world of the web which they should have done years ago. Of course you can't always get on the TV media systems a film that has just been launched and is an exclusive with one of the rental companies, but that's fairly rare and will change and frankly, so what, I'll wait a week or so. As for buying a DVD. Well when they first come out they cost circa £17. Wait a couple of months and they'll be available for £6. A couple of months further down the line, £3. You know, why would I rent a film that I really, really like and know that I'll watch a few times if I can buy it for £3?

So, all companies should be at least thinking about how they should adapt to changing demand and how they can adopt new technology to progress their business. For many, I fear it may be too late.

It pays to constantly review your business. Look at new markets, new ways of doing business. Finding ways of getting to new markets. Embracing new technologies. Planning for the future.

My favourite saying for many years has been:

'Question the answer. Challenge the norm'.

Used within reason, it works.


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