An interview with Michael Hammond, the youngest known Ofcom license holder. He is also the founder and driving force behind Sky’s “Property TV” channel.
- What is your background, where did the idea for Property TV come from?
Technically speaking, having graduated from university with a law degree my background is law, however, on leaving university I opted to go into business.
When I was around the age of 11, my family spent a lot of time in the USA. During one of my trips I spotted tiny remote control cars – which had not previously been available in the UK.
It was at this time I took my first step into the world of entrepreneurialism by buying them in America and selling them to friends and to local shops in the U.K.
I have always looked for new business opportunities, one of which was servicing estate agents with home video tours, which could be used to help sell properties. During this time I was connecting with a lot of estate agents, property developers, and investors and in doing so,
I was learning a lot about property. I soon realised that the knowledge I was building up was not readily available to the general public and as a nation of property lovers there was the market for a television channel dedicated to information, education and entertainment on the subject of property.
- Is it just broadcast to the UK and only via sky or is it available/rebroadcast to other countries?
Property TV broadcasts as a free channel to anyone with a Sky box. There are about 11.5+ million Sky subscribers in the UK and it’s estimated that there are about 500,000 expats that also have Sky boxes.
Property TV is also available to download on most IOS and Android mobile devices and on other platforms such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, Chromecast and many others. This makes selected content available world-wide.
- How difficult was it to get the channel up and running, what were the main obstacles you had to overcome and what would you do differently with the benefit of hindsight?
There were a lot of initial obstacles that had to be overcome in order to launch Property TV, I certainly learnt a lot of lessons in the process. Hindsight is a fantastic thing but it is in fact just part of the education process.
Because of those obstacles and the lessons that I have learned to overcame them, we are here as a growing channel, nearly two and a half years after first going to air.
If I could go back in time I would just tell myself to worry less when these obstacles appear. If
you learn from mistakes and continue to keep driving the company forward with everything you have, that is all you can do.
- Why did you choose to broadcast on Sky?
Sky’s market size and subscriber demographics made the platform the natural fit for the channel. Although there are other platforms such a Virgin and Freeview, the opportunity with
Sky made the decision an easy one to make.
Of course, we have now launched the Property TV mobile application and television app which makes the channel available to almost everyone across the globe.
- How does the channel make money and sustain itself?
The channel has many different revenue streams. The main ones are of course advertising, sponsorship, teleshopping and production.
- What is your role within the company and what does your typical day look like?
As the founding director and CEO of the company, every day is different. Property TV has an office in Ashford and a base in Convent Garden, London. I generally spend my time in one of those locations but probably more time in London.
Most of my time is spent meeting interesting people in either the property industry or wider other realms of business. Some of these people may become clients and others often present interesting opportunities for the channel.
I also get involved in the production of some of the unique content we produce at Property TV. In this roll I am usually classed as an Executive Producer. Our productions often take the film crew and me to some very interesting places and to meet some very interesting people, this has included filming members of the House of Lords in Westminster and Billionaires in London Sky scrapers.
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
I believe my greatest strength to be my passion and enthusiasm for Property TV. I’m a strong believer in thinking that if you are not passionate about your business, why should anyone else be?
I try to take as much energy as I can into all my meeting and this is where I think my greatest business strength lies.
As for weaknesses, I believe that my greatest weakness is simply trying to fit too much into one day! With passion comes excitement and with excitement it is sometimes easy to try and do too much. I’ll often find myself working all hours of the day and sending emails when I should be concentrating on other important elements of my life, such as family and friends!
- Which business leader or entrepreneur most inspires you and why?
Due to the nature of my business I am very fortunate in that I get to spend a good deal of time with many business leaders and entrepreneurs. Some of them may not be household names like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, but what inspires me the most is personal stories of trials and tribulations. On a personal level, I really try to put things into perspective and that demonstrates to me that with a vision and drive you can get to where you want to.
In terms of business leaders and entrepreneurs I have not met, Elon Musk tops the list. I think you would be hard pushed to find an individual who is as driven as he is and he has some truly amazing companies.
- What brand do you most admire and why?
I admire different brands for different reasons. Apple has built a fantastic brand and now, all of my devices and computers are Apple. I know that when I purchase Apple I am receiving something of real quality and my user experience will be simple and efficient, of course the device will work with all my others.
I also admire Amazon, as they are making my life simple! I purchase nearly all my goods through Amazon now and with Amazon Prime I know that it will be with me the next day (and for free). It makes life very simple and I admire the investment they are making into infrastructure and technology to make this happen.
Another brand I admire, but unfortunately am yet to actually purchase from is Tesla. I admire Telsa’s vision. I believe they are paving the way for the whole car manufacturing industry with cars that are not only green but are also the fastest and most practical out there.
- Where do you see the UK buy to let Property market going?
This is a tricky question because as a broadcaster in the sector I want to remain neutral to the contrasting opinions out there.
What I will say is that it’s no longer as simple to create a worthwhile buy to let income as it once was. That being said I do not believe that the UK buy to let market will dry up completely and I believe that there will always be opportunities out there. What we are likely to see is a shift from a lot of accidental buy to let landlords to even more sophisticated ones.
- What’s next for Property TV, what have you got planned for the future?
We have lots of exciting plans for Property TV. Having already expanded the number of platforms we are accessible on, right now our key area of development is the production of unique content.
As well as our on-going regular series’ such as, ‘Property Question Time’, ‘Property Pundits’ and ‘Proper Wealth’ we are working on the launch of a number of new television series’. As well as the topic of property these will also explore other asset classes and business as a whole.
In production right now we have a full series on the stock market, programmes on crypto currency and also an international version of one of our flagship series’, ‘Make Your Money Work’ which last week saw us interviewing Sir Vince Cable at the House of Lords.
Thank you for your time today Michael and good luck with your new channels.
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