Nigel Godfrey on Seven Not So Sharp

Nigel Godfrey has blogged at Throng about Seven Sharp and the decisions behind launching the product.

So let’s parallel the path to the creation of Seven Sharp with any another business.

  1. The business owner, TVNZ, has the top-selling product in it’s category (Close-UP).
  2. The MD decides to cease making said product and re-invent another product aimed largely at a different customer.
  3. The original product completely disappears from shelves to wide-spread disappointment from the now abandoned customers who have been buying it for 23 years.
  4. The new product appears on shelves but the market is not sure that it either wants or needs this new product.
  5. Many previously loyal customers keep asking where the old product has gone and they go to another shop (TV3) where a similar product to the one that used to be available at the old shop (TVNZ) is still on sale.
  6. In the meantime the ‘brains’ behind the disappearance of the afore-mentioned best-selling product and the creation of the new one … resigns. 

Such a scenario would unlikely occur in any public or private company where there was any form of answerability or recourse to shareholders. In my life I’m lucky enough each year to meet and work with some of New Zealand’s greatest Entrepreneurs and I have done so for the last 7 years, I can’t think of a time where such a scenario would or could occur in any of their highly successful businesses.

He clearly thinks that TVNZ has made an appalling decision:

[B]ut I just can’t imagine a situation where a business owner, who knows his or her market, would have the arrogance, (read ‘stupidity’), to believe that it made any sense to withdraw a top-selling product and replace it with something that they simply believed that the market needed.

In my opinion such a decision does not show ‘guts’, it displays a supreme  arrogance in regard to a quite obviously held belief that a manufacturer or retailer could, should or would be able to manipulate the market on such an extraordinary scale.

It also betrays a lack of understanding and loyalty to it’s already existing customer base.

And finally it shows that a cavalier attitude in regard to commercial decision-making is tolerated at a very dangerous level within TVNZ. Whatever the success or otherwise of Seven Sharp, the process that has brought about its creation should be questioned from a commercial standpoint.

In the real world, revisiting my scenario above, unless the new product out-performed the old one in a very short time-span,  the person responsible for such a decision would likely have a hard time retaining their position.

Oh I momentarily forgot – in this instance that person resigned before the product even hit the shelves!


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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