60-second start-up: Horror-Fi

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

3D Horror-Fi produces 3D audio recordings in the horror genre for iPods and MP3 players.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

We produce a series of 3D audio recordings and sell them though web and mobile applications like Audible, Amazon and iTunes. So far we have five unique releases. Total downloads stand at 5000 and counting.

We can also produce audio for other publishers using our special 3D technique. It doesn't have to be horror.  In fact, we want to tackle other genres. There are some big plans afoot, but for the sake of show business some things need to remain a mystery. It would be great to do an adaptation of a current best-seller novel, though. Any major publisher who picks up the phone and talks to us is likely to have a major hit on their hands.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

No one else is doing exactly the same kind of recording as us. But our competitors are all the other paid content providers online, from the BBC to audiobook sites.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

Definitely our 3D effect. We use a technique perfected by people like Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam called binaural. However, we have developed our own unique twist on it and use special process which not only optimises sound but gives the actors a lot of room for creative freedom. If I told you about the twist I would have to kill you, of course.

We do everything ourselves:, record sound effects etc. All our voice artists are first class stage and film  actors. They are always of exceptional talent. One actor was in the new Inception film with Leonardo Di Caprio, another was in Emmerdale and another acted in the play Equus, which was a West End hit.

No matter what recording technology you use, if your actors or script are mediocre you will end up with a rubbish production. We are trying to bring out new releases as quickly as possible without compromising quality. Quality is king.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

The business is self funded.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

Acting and running another company called Web Vocal which records podcasts and audio for other client web sites.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

Audio drama was dying out. It's still very popular amongst older Radio Four listeners, but the afternoon play is not exactly... How should I say...? Rock and roll. In other countries, radio drama has all but disappeared completely. In the US, millions listened to the 1938 dramatisation of H.G Wells War of the Worlds on the radio. People were so moved by it they ran out of their houses to panic buy petrol but when TV came radio drama effectively died out.

Now there is a new generation that owns digital devices with head phones and doesn't just want to listen to music. We have make recordings specially geared to this audience. Trends are often cyclical and the time is right in a big way.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

We managed to secure distribution deals with Audible, Amazon and iTunes. Not only that, but one of our releases made it onto the best seller list on Audible ahead of the Judy Dench biography.

This deals came about through a mixture three parts persistence, one part luck. I just kept calling and asking for somebody to listen to our stuff. After a while, they think "Do I really want to field another call from this idiot or should I just take two minutes to listen?" Listening becomes the easier option.

I also was focussed very hard on being truthful and humble. I was honest about being a start up. I had a day job and explained that their support  would mean a lot to us. Too many people think they're on The Apprentice and big their ventures up too much. I was then extremely fortunate to have somebody at Amazon who was amazing and got the potential of our product.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

Doing a sound effect with a dead chicken. You can hear the noise in Blood and Stone; it's when the jailer gets his throat cut. (Download Blood and Stone) The effect came out great but, to be honest, the best part was cooking the chicken afterwards with some fresh sage and eating it after a ten hour production day. Waste not, want not.

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

Jammy Dodger. It's 3D and sounds cool.

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?


55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

Presenting a bottle of finest Krug to a farmer in a small town in the middle of Nebraska who has just received our millionth download.

Visit the 3D Horror-Fi website

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