Live Mag

Varsity TV’s Pat Mahlangu gives his 5 tips for running a successful media company

by: Mbulelo Roto - 27 September 2016



The One Young World Summit, a global forum for young leaders, kicks off this week and 25-year-old Pat Mahlangu will be one of the delegates.

The 25-year-old, who is in Canada this week to attend the summit, started his own media company called Varsity TV. It is the only campus-based digital media platform that is carried through digital screens located on University of Johannesburg campuses. The channel covers campus events, helps students advertise their businesses and gives aspiring videographers editing lessons.

 Pat shares six tips for running a successful media company:

1.   “Find someone who believes in your idea.”

We approached a couple of potential investors, and we were fortunate enough to find someone that believed in our idea. They gave us money to get the company off the ground. Since then, the business has been sustaining itself.

2. Use social media and email to market your business.”

We market the platform, Varsity TV,  mainly through the internet. We use e-mails to reach out to potential clients and social media to engage with our audience, which is mainly made up of students.

 3. “There will be challenges along the way. Persistence is key. “

Getting investment was a challenge. We were turned down by many potential investors. The other challenge was getting the rights to install our digital screens on UJ campuses, it took a long time to reach an agreement with the different campuses. Persistence is key. One cannot just give up. If the first person you approach says no, you need to seek different ways to convince them otherwise.

 4. “Don’t be discouraged if you do not have a media background.”

I have zero academic background in media studies. So does my business partner, Refilwe Lediga who is a civil engineer by profession. I do not believe that one needs have studied media to start a media company. But getting educated has its advantages. In our team we have people who studied media-related studies and possess the relevant technical skills in TV production. I think the ability to think creatively is important factor when starting a media company.

 5. “Stay in your lane.”

 We do not have any direct competitors. However, in the online space,  YouTube in particular, that’s where we are facing indirect competition. How we deal with that is that we try to stay in our lane because we can’t be everything to everybody. Our mandate is to put out content that appeals to students and that’s what we stick to.