The media furore surrounding HMV has been overwhelming.
You can certainly understand why. A number of stores are to be closed, Christmas takings were lower than expected and credit limits are being reviewed. The last big music specialist is fighting for its life and for the national press it makes good copy.
Yet if you look at what HMV have actually said, you’ll see that the situation isn’t nearly as dire as the media will have you believe.
Certainly, HMV didn’t have the Christmas it thought it would. The firm blamed the snow and sources close to the company told me it had trouble with its internal replenishment system. But whatever the reason, HMV’s Christmas takings didn’t live up to expectations and as a result it had to warn its stakeholders.
In order to prove it is doing all that it can to cut costs, HMV announced it would cull 60 of its stores – 20 Waterstones and 40 HMV outlets. Almost all of these shops are loss-making or based near another store, but it was enough to get the press predicting the imminent demise of the entertainment giant.
‘HMV struggles to survive amid tumbling sales,’ read The Guardian. ‘Fears of future of HMV’ claimed The Sun. ‘Share crisis looms for HMV,’ said Gamesindustry.biz.
It was this sort of reporting that scared suppliers, clients and even consumers, and soon one insurer put the firm’s credit insurance under review. The BBC broke the story with the headline: ‘HMV: It gets worse.’
The very next day the biggest companies in the music world wrote a letter pledging their support for HMV. The BBC never covered it.