The Prize Draw – Thoughts Please…


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    Hello All,

    Lee here, and I know I rarely post these days..  I’m afraid I’m working 7 days a week, around 10-12 hours a day trying to make a living dealing in pre-owned B&O. This doesn’t give me much time to enjoy the trials, tribulations and deliberations about the brand which true hobbyists and enthusiasts enjoy, but that’s life.  I am truly sorry I am not around to add to the conversations.

    I am posting this with regards to the Prize Draw, and I’ll explain why – and give you some background.

    Back when I took over BeoWorld around 20 years ago I had a rapidly growing business, the boundless energy and enthusiasm of a man in his early 30’s, and more importantly Bang & Olufsen as a brand was really flying high.  I had little overheads, and cash to burn – and I invested over £25,000 launching the ‘all new’ BeoWorld for everyone to enjoy.  Things were great, times were good.

    As I was getting so much B&O ‘through the door’ I thought it a great idea to share my success and love for the brand by creating a Prize Draw, every single month, giving away some quite frankly amazing prizes.  There were many people on here questioning how on earth BeoWorld could afford this, and how it made no sense.  Well… yes, it made no sense as I was contributing heavily via LifeStyle AV which was doing incredibly well.  It made me truly happy inside to donate things to the Prize Draw, via my business, and help people all over the world enjoy the wonders of Bang & Olufsen ownership.  Times were good.

    BeoWorld, because of this, had lots of Gold Members – all keen to win these amazing Prizes.  A years Gold Membership, TWENTY YEARS AGO, was £30.  Even with lots of Gold Members we still didn’t make the numbers add up – even though I was buying the Prizes, but hey.

    For many years we lost money on the Prize Draw. I just wrote it off and shrugged my shoulders. You do that when business is good and it makes your B&O ‘family’ on here happy.

    Then, as more and more stores closed LifeStyle AV had to batten down the hatches. We ended up laying staff off as profits were nose-diving, and we took the decision to make the Prize Draw once every 3 Months.  The £30 per year for Gold Membership didn’t change. It was a difficult decision and one which upset me, but I simply couldn’t afford to empty my pockets every month any more. Things had to change, and you were all very understanding. I thank you all for that.

    Of course people decided that this wasn’t the ludicrously good value it used to be and didn’t renew their Gold Memberships.  Obviously this resulted in a decline in revenue, and over time even a quarterly draw became a struggle.  I ‘donated’ many items from my own personal B&O collection on many occasions to relieve the pressure on the BeoWorld bank account, and we managed to just about break even for a while.

    Now, as more and more people drift away from the brand we have less and less Gold Members.  It makes sense I suppose. Less stores, less advertising, less brand awareness and so on. This has made even a Quarterly Prize Draw a real struggle now.  I have just purchased the prizes for the Spring Prize Draw and found the BeoWorld bank account was far short of what I’d paid for them and I’ve just put almost £500 of my own money into the ‘prize pot’. I genuinely cannot afford this right now.

    Now, being a realist, I cannot see that in the next 3 months Bang & Olufsen will have a miraculous turnaround, create a worldwide storm, get 10,000 new members on BeoWorld with 10% of them joining as Gold Members and saving the day, thus making our Prize Draw the bumper bonanza of the past.  Bang & Olufsen as a company are clearly struggling (the share price is down a massive 85% in the last 5 years), and we’re really down to a hard core of true enthusiasts on here.  We truly appreciate you all. We really do.

    So, what we have is a bit of ‘chicken and egg’ here – and this needs thinking about….  The more prize draws we had, with more prizes, the more paying members we had. The more we had to cut back on draws, the more members drifted away.

    Things slowed down for B&O as a company, people started to leave the brand, and we made the Draw quarterly. People stopped being Gold Members.

    Now, so many people are leaving the brand the Gold Membership is very small and not even paying for the Prize Draw – even though I buy the prizes at trade price, call in favours from Dealers, and also keep ‘raiding’ my personal collection to make the numbers up. It’s just not adding up any more.

    Sadly there’s so little money in used B&O now it’s getting to the point it’d be better off getting a job, plus I have a mortgage to pay as well as ludicrous energy bills. I truly love this site and it’s part of my life (and has been for 20 years now), but I cannot afford to be subsidising it out of my own increasingly shallow pockets. 🙁

    So, I have two suggestions…

    1. Make the Prize Draw Bi-Annual. Once in Summer, and once at Christmas. I will keep the Gold Membership the same as it was in 2003. at £30. As long as people keep renewing their Gold Memberships. Hopefully we can then stay at break-even, or a very small loss.
    2. We can scrap the Prize Draw altogether. Gold Membership will disappear, and we can look at other ways to raise funds to pay for the server costs and power costs like maintaining Silver Membership for now then thinking of a different way of paying for the site.

    Now… Can I categorically say here that without Keith Saunders doing the huge amount of back end work, maintaining and hosting the server at his own home to save money, correcting code, custom writing patches and fixes, scanning and uploading manuals and making sure on a daily basis that we don’t get hacked FOR NOTHING this site would be gone. Totally gone. A distant memory.

    There’s no way I could pay for what Keith does, for free – so we all quite literally owe this site to him, not me. If Keith walked away, BeoWorld would have to close – immediately.

    So, I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts on this if possible. You are paying members, and at the end of the day you will make or break this site as every penny you contribute goes towards keeping this site on the internet.

    Kindest Regards







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