In the upcoming weeks a business plan will be formed to boost Milkyway. Since the intention is to involve several media platforms and let Milkyway be an interactive story to attract as many (new) consumers as possible, it is wise to look at the working method of other companies who successfully achieved these goal(s). Starting a successful business is often difficult and a lot of obstacles can come along (Stewart and Roth, 2001).
An inspiring story can be found in ‘Moonbot Studios’. In this paper we will look at the Moonbot Studios; their funding and finance strategies, time line approach, and platforms used to tell stories.
In 2009/2010 filmmakers William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg and film producer Lampton Enochs founded the ‘Moonbot Studios’ to develop stories that have a “compelling emotional narrative and exciting visual aesthetics” (Long, 2011). Their intention was to tell stories across books, interactive apps and games, however they started by producing short films.
Their target audience is the same as that of the bigger Hollywood studio, the only difference being they are filling up the gaps left open by these studios (Markowith, 2012).
Business plan and financing
As all founders were already deeply involved in the entertainment film industry before they started ‘Moonbot Studios’ they could manage with just the expertise and creativity of the three of them (Dredge, 2012), keeping it very small. They marketed their first products so fine, that they immediately attracted several incentives (An Oscar and, n.d.). As a result the company did not have to worry about money. However, if this would not have happened they could have also just relied on their own financing plan, which mostly consisted of selling the products to individuals for reasonable prices, e.g. their apps in the Appstore range from €0,79 to €4,99. These prices do not limit the involvement by consumers; therefore they can build on it by making the several platforms and products one complete story, meaning securing themselves from other revenues, as they are doing right now.
Keeping it small is what they are currently still doing, with 35 employees they cost a fraction of the budget and manpower of enormous production companies such as Warner Bros (Markowitz, 2012). However, as they are continuing to grow they also look at further business opportunities. After two years the innovative thinking of the company still has not ended; they are currently partnering with Sony to take storytelling to the next level (Ballard, 2012). With this step they do not only create possibilities for their story, but consolidate their market value.
Joyce, Oldenburg and Enochs developed their first short film with the arrival of the iPad, which showed the opportunity of bringing different media areas together (Dredge, 2012). As a result they directly followed with an app following this first short film. The filmmakers and film producer explain to Dredge (2012) that they go where their creative minds lead them, which is showed in the app that needed to be the interactive version of a book but became an interactive experience instead. They never get lost in the apps though, but always keep checking the competitors, searching for new possibilities and experiences. Above all the artists intend to focus on storytelling, and in the future this will always be the start of their strategy for new products, though they also explain this can change as possibilities such as creating apps emerge (Dredge, 2012).
Looking at this inspiring story one must note that without the valuable background of the founders in the entertainment industry, it would have been much more difficult. Since the power of businesses is in the actual skills to perform keeping it small was a good option for them. In other cases companies perhaps should have gone “bigger”, meaning attracting employees, to find the same amount of relevant skills.
Indissolubly connected to a profitable business is gaining revenue from the products. The founders integrated this perfectly by asking money for their products from the beginning onwards. As the different platforms complement each other, triggering consumers to buy every experience, thus consolidating their market position. With the latest development of cooperating with Sony they expand the company, its name and fame as well as the possibilities in producing.
Surprisingly the filmmakers and producers, or so called artists, do not seem to focus on a specific strategy or time line in their products. Whether this is truly the case or a trick to fool consumers in the creative minds they are remains the question. One might believe that one thing is sure: everyone involved focuses on possibilities offered as they tell the next story. They adapt their strategy along the way to gain the most consumers and biggest revenue.
An Oscar and a magical app. Louisiana Economic Development. Retrieved from: http://www.louisianaeconomicdevelopment.com/case-studies/moonbot-studios.aspx
Ballard, J. (2012, Juni 15). Moonbot studios partners with sony and launches interactive game. Silicon Bayou News. Retrieved from: http://siliconbayounews.com/2012/06/15/moonbot-studios-partners-with-sony-and-launches-interactive-game/
Dredge, S. (2012, January 12). Moonbot studios talks numberlys, apps and interactive storytelling. The Guardian. Retrieved from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2012/jan/12/moonbot-studios-numberlys-apps
Inc. Staff. (2012, February 24). Meet the coolest start-up ever to win an Oscar. Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.inc.com/coolest-start-up-nominated-for-an-academy-award.html
Long, S. (2011, July 18). Moonbot studios ‘’The fantastic flying books of mr. morris lessmore’’ ipad app soars to the top of the app store: Interactive picture book app and short film continue to drive record number of downloads. Business Wire. Retrieved from: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110718005545/en/Moonbot-Studios%E2%80%99-Fantastic-Flying-Books-Mr.-Morris
Markowitz, E. (2012, January 12). How to manage uber-creative employees. Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.inc.com/eric-markowitz/how-to-squeeze-creativity-from-your-employees.html
Stewart, W. H. and P. L. Roth, 2001, ‘Risk Propensity Differences Between Entrepreneurs and Managers: A Meta-Analytic Review’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 145–153.
By Group 2: Pol Lanski, Emmy Bruijstens, Lisanne van Beurden and Manon van den Berg