On the up · 16 December 2015

PropertyTV: From property educational concept to Sky TV channel slot

Mike Hammond has seen strong early interest for his offering
Mike Hammond has seen strong early interest for his offering

Having first studied law at university, 22 year-old entrepreneur Mike Hammond decided to try his hand at building a TV channel – after noticing a gap in the market when it came to property content.

Since then, he’s raised £400,000 in funding, got a slot on Sky TV and already had 250,000 viewers. Business Advice sat down with the ambitious businessman to find out more.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

My name is Michael Hammond and although I studied law at university, I’ve built a business combining media with the property sector.

My original idea for PropertyTV came about while our family were selling our family home back in 2010 but it has now flourished in to a fully-fledged TV channel on Sky TV.

We learn a lot at school, we learn about science, geography and history. But whilst we learn about these subjects, we very rarely learn about a subject that is so important and close to the nation’s heart. Something that has the power to make someone happy or sad, rich or poor – property.

Whilst working for some time alongside the property industry I learnt a lot about property – things that I believe should be common knowledge. After all, property is likely to be the most expensive asset anyone will ever own and as such I believe that it should be something that we are educated about. That was the main factor behind PropertyTV and is the fundamental driving force behind wanting to create a “home for property entertainment, education and information”. Indeed, my aim is for Property TV to be the number one source of property information in the UK.

(2) How long has Property TV been around for?  

The germ of the business was born in 2010 but it wasn’t until 2013 before it became a registered business. After some two years of preparation and development (which included finding funding) the channel officially launched on Sky TV on June 1st this year.

(3) How do you make money?  

The current business model is very much focused on advertising revenues. We currently operate with ten, 20 and 30 second “spots” plus long-form advertising of three to 30 minutes duration. We currently have dozens of national brands advertising with us, including BT, British Gas and Google. Smaller businesses, which are able to register the response rates, find that as a response creation channel, we are particularly strong.

As we build the channel, we will introduce sponsorship opportunities for both TV shows and new programme segments. In the long term, there are further plans to monetise our online capability as well as to make our own TV programmes that we will sell into the international markets.

(4) What makes you different, and why should people take notice?  

There is nothing like PropertyTV, anywhere! Most large entertainment TV channels are known to carry popular property programmes such as Homes Under the Hammer and Location, Location, Location. But there has never before been a dedicated channel to appease the nation’s love affair with property. Property TV is the first dedicated channel for property lovers – whether you’re a first time buyer, a doer-upper or a professional investor.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

Having the idea was the easy bit but finding people who’d back it with time and money, was a real challenge. Speaking to lots of people and making vital connections through those I already knew, (or who had been recommended to me) was the momentum for getting PropertyTV underway.

The fundamental element to building such a contact base was to get things progressing both practically. I managed to achieve this in about 12 months simply by conceptualising the idea.

(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

There are numerous key moments in PropertyTV’s journey so far and without them, we wouldn’t have been able to make our biggest achievement to date. That has to be the moment we first appeared on Sky TV as a “real” (instead of wanna-be) TV channel. It’s a huge achievement and one that was a result of thousands of hours of hard work by the team.

However, this will soon be eclipsed as we are very close to announcing further developments that will lead to new pinnacles in our plans.

(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?

It’s inevitable that every startup or small business goes through periods of growth, and will have a fair share of challenges. Although the funding eventually took less than a year there were a few bumps in the road with major alterations to key contracts and commercial terms which at times threatened to cause the plans to fall apart. But in the end, tenacity won through.

And with there being so many components necessary to create new TV programmes, we’ve had various challenges with celebrities and technology that have either stopped us filming the programme or meant that we’ve had to restructure the series.

(8) In five years’ time, I will be…

Our mid-term goal (within three to five years) is to become the number one source of property information in the UK – what Bloomberg is for the business world – while maintaining a core thread of entertainment.

We’re an agile business, always pushing boundaries and trying new things to better property entertainment, and improve information for property enthusiasts. We’re at the beginning of our journey and as we develop, we will see PropertyTV grow to become the place to go for information as a first time buyer, a property investor or for professional landlords.

The necessary components will be aligned and the depth of content will multiply significantly. This will be predominantly about cornering the UK market while also exploring other territories as we grow.

(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?

Stick to what you believe in, but at the same time listen and consider advice from experts who have “been there” and “done it”. Too often, the blinkers are too tightly fastened for entrepreneurs when developments and new ideas may be sparked by listening or watching. It’s easy to miss these opportunities, so remember that we’re always learning and there are always different ways to do things. Sometimes they’re better. Having the ability to consider and act accordingly is often the difference between success and disaster.

(10) Who are your business heroes and why?

Elon Musk is certainly somebody I look up to. Although I’ve never met him, I’d find it fascinating as his business ethos and desire to better things is remarkable. What he did with SpaceX and Tesla in particular is inspirational for me. There is certainly a common strand of technological innovation running through the businesses he owns but they are all so different at the same time.

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Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.

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