What We Do
Our work covers a broad range of business areas.
BUSINESS PLANNING AND STRATEGY
Successful new business launches don’t happen by accident. Having a solid plan that covers the key issues is essential. This includes issues such as:
- Who is the target customer and why will they want this product or service?
- What is the gap in the market that this service fills?
- How will the new business be monetized?
- What will the new business cost and when do we expect to break even?
Cole Media’s consultants have launched dozens and dozens of businesses across all areas of media, from traditional businesses like cable and broadcast networks to streaming.
The first step before launching any new business is to investigate the market for it.
We’ve seen many instances where a new businesses was launched based on management’s gut feel for what it should be, skipping over the important step of making sure the target customers agree that they need the product or service being proposed and that someone — customers, advertisers, or someone else – is willing to pay for it.
Better to get it right up front than to try to fix it later — although we can help on either end. We can do a market assessment to determine where a gap in the market exists for a new service.
A competitive landscape is an important pieces of any strategy to identify issues like:
- Who are the competitors? How successful are they?
- What did they do that did or did not work?
- What is the demand for their products?
- What is their pricing? How many customers, advertisers, etc. do they have?
- What resources do they bring apart from the business that we want to compete with?
Business Plan Creation
Once we determine at a high level that demand exists for a new product or service, a business plan can be created that maps out the steps that need to be undertaken to launch the business successfully.
The business plan is the roadmap for the business that looks at each of the issues reviewed during the strategy work and assesses how the business will respond to them. These vary depending on the business but could include items like:
- Content sources and costs
- Monetization potential – sources, revenue per customer, pricing levels, advertising
- Vendor requirements – insourcing vs. outsourcing, potential vendors, costs
- Partnerships and distribution – what agreements need to be in place
- Marketing needs
All of us at Cole Media have worked in-house at media companies. We know how important it is to have realistic projections of how much it will cost to launch a new business, how much revenue it can generate, and how quickly.
No one wants to tell their investors, management, or Board that a new business will cost $10 million and will break even in a year, only to have it cost $40 million before break even and take five years to get there.
Our financial projections are based upon a detailed review of each of the areas covered during the Business Strategy and Business Plan Creation steps. We never assemble plans that say “if we just get 1% of the market we’ll look like xyz…” We do a bottom-up analysis and also compare to it to external factors like how we think competitors are doing, how they are pricing, and how many customers they have.
Market Assessment, Customer Interviews
Cole Media’s information comes from a variety of sources.
Because we all come from within the entertainment industry, we have deep rolodexes and access to senior level contacts in all areas of media, technology, and a wide range of vendors and supporting businesses. If we don’t know the answers already from the nearly 200 projects we’ve worked on to date, we are only a degree or two of separation from someone who does.
We constantly source the most up to date and current information on any projects, since the media and technology landscapes are constantly evolving. Information from a few years ago is likely to be out of date already.
Of course before we even get on the phone with our contacts we make sure that we’ve gotten as much information as we can from publicly available sources, which could be trade publications or reports.
Our information sources are not only from our contacts. We also work closely with our clients to make sure that we’ve tapped into their knowledge base and list of contacts as well. Many clients have directed us to interview their customers or potential customers so that we can advise how to tailor the products or services to their needs.
Unlike consultants at other firms, Cole Media’s all have hands-on operating experience.
We cover a variety of skillsets, and if we don’t have what you need on our core team we can find someone to add to the team to cover it.
We can fill any operational needs during launch, from project oversight and management to supplemental expertise, or just another pair of hands to help out.
Budgeting and Financial Projections
We can take the business plan and use it to create monthly operational budgets.
We’re frequently brought into established businesses to help get financial projections and presentations together for board meetings and management presentations.
Operational and Launch Assistance
Setting up a new line of business requires a lot of extra time and energy. Cole Media is available to help out as long as needed to set everything up.
We work closely with our clients’ internal teams to pull it all together with the specific tasks tailored to the need of every client.
We’ve brought in teams of anywhere from one or two people to seven or more. We can scale as needed to supplement our clients’ organizations, bringing in experts with the required skillsets and experience.
Programming and Content Licensing
Some areas of media require very specific expertise and contacts, and programming and content licensing are two of those. Our experts and team members have programmed a variety of digital and traditional media businesses, and have worked with large companies and small ones.
We’ve been both buyers and sellers on the content licensing side. We’ve also got team members with experience commissioning programming. Whatever steps in the process you need help with, just ask us and we’ll bring you the right team.
Distribution and Partnerships
Cole Media has team members and relationships with consultants with deep industry experience and recent, strong contacts. This includes everything from FAST distribution to marketing and content partnerships.
Most of Cole Media’s consultants have international experience in many different markets: Europe, Asia, India, Latin America, Canada, and Australia. We also have partnerships and team members based internationally who we can bring in to help with local time zones, contacts, and market intelligence.
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
Cole Media has helped clients kick the tires on many different types of acquisitions.
Cole Media has supplemented clients’ internal, legal, and accounting teams with a variety of due diligence service depending on the needs of the particular assignment. This has included:
- Business-level document review of the target company’s contracts, financials, and operating information.
- Due diligence questions and interviews with the target company’s executives to do a deeper dive than can be attained from the documents provided.
- Budgets and financial projections combining the target company with the Cole Media client, including the incorporation of potential operational synergies.
- Market sizing and assessment of interest in the target company’s products and positioning, achieved through interviews with current and potential customers of the target company.
- Evaluations for clients’ management and board as to the attractiveness of the acquisition or merger on a variety of different factors including risks, reasonableness of the financials, market potential after a combination, or simply a summary of the documents and other elements reviewed.
Partner Identification, Relationship Structuring
Cole Media’s team members have expertise in many different types of business partnerships and relationships, and can tailor the team members and scope of work to the client’s needs to assist with a merger or acquisition.
Cole Media has assisted clients with the development of term sheets and deal points for M&A discussions.
Cole Media has also helped clients develop lists of potential target companies for acquisition and partnership, or has done a pros/cons evaluation of targets that the client has developed.
As Cole Media’s consultants have worked in-house and as consultants, we’ve put together many term sheets and business agreements. We can assist clients as needed to create and evaluate deal terms for a M&A transaction. We can work with the clients’ attorneys who are evaluating a transaction from the legal side to come up with the business-oriented questions, often involving operational areas that the attorneys are less familiar with.
EXPERT WITNESS SERVICES
Cole Media has provided confidential expert witness services to a wide variety of legal cases and arbitrations across many areas of media in the U.S. and internationally. Cases range from media industry litigation for the U.S. Department of Justice and major law firms, to smaller matters for local jurisdictions and firms.
We’ve been retained as both a testifying witness and as a consulting expert, sometimes moving from consulting to testifying as the legal team assesses their case strategy and needs.
We’re happy to speak with you to see if your case is one that we can cover, and if not, to see whether we can recommend someone who can.
Expert Witness and Consulting
Examples of the types of expert witness and consulting projects we’ve covered:
- Evaluate market segments including streaming, television (cable and broadcast), and the introduction of new technology into both new and traditional businesses.
- Reviewed business plans to assess their reasonableness.
- Created industry analysis and overviews of particular areas relevant to a particular legal matter.
- Assisted valuation experts with industry-specific assumptions and expertise.
- Reviewed opposing expert reports and helped law firm develop lines of questioning for depositions and other court matters.
- Wrote many expert reports and rebuttal for U.S. and international cases and arbitrations.
- Testified in depositions and arbitrations.
Media Industry Event Moderation
Lauren Cole has moderated and led dozens of panels for industry events and alumni events.