What I've Learnt: Rob Beynon, Founder & CEO of DMA Media

Josh Peachey's picture
by Josh Peachey

Rob Beynon is the CEO and founder of DMA Media, a broadcast, digital and corporate production business with clients worldwide.

He established the company twenty years ago and it has grown to become a global leader in news and factual content, channels and distribution. He has launched dozens of TV and online news channels for media organisations around the world. 

Prior to establishing DMA, Rob has previously worked as Executive Producer at Sky News for six years and at ITN as the Output Editor on News at Ten.

Here, he looks back on his career and shares some of the lessons he has learned...



Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?
E-mails, the phone, a sense of humour – most of all friends and family.

What's been your luckiest break?
Working out that the skills you learn at one stage in your career can transport to another. Two decades as a journalist and editor are good grounding for all sorts of future business. Lots of people think what they do is all they can do. Wish I’d realised it earlier. 

What's your best failure?
There’ve been a few, I’m not ashamed to admit! A video, news and entertainment service for commuters on trains and buses, and a diet, fitness and health channel. All wonderful content but lacking a few basics - in one, the technology (smart mobile devices) overtook it, in the other, the brand and marketing couldn’t cut through a crowded market. Great lessons learned from each one. Should I have known better? Yes. Do I now? For sure. 

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?
Best investment is in the people working for me. They are the organisation. Select the best, provide training, and allow them to have their heads and run with their ideas. 

How would you describe your work/life balance?
Good, but it comes and goes. When it’s busy, I work flat out and hope the family (and fitness regime) can catch up later. But you don’t need to be flat out just for the sake of it.

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?
My advice is read novels, not management or financial textbooks They’re usually better written and they provide perspectives. Most management textbooks are pushing a particular line or fad, a bit like diet books. So for me, there are a few classics (Trollope is a big favourite), a bit of Le Carre closely observed spies and thrills, and a bit of wonder like Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
I think it can’t be just one!

Trust your gut, listen, change, fail fast, try things. Use your energy and intuition. If the plane is full, choose an aisle seat. Give up smoking. And if only one: it’s all about people… 

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?
My dad, long gone, rose from an office boy to run a shipping agency in South Wales. As a boy I asked him why he as MD was fiddling with the big central heating boiler in the basement they’d just had installed, on a Sunday morning, to set the heating for the week ahead in the office. ‘Well if I don’t do it son, who the hell else will?’ Strong advice for any SME, maybe bigger companies too. 

Tell us something about you that would surprise people
I love working and I also love not working. 
What does success look like to you?
Success is a lot about ideas but even more about people. Get those right, concentrate on the details - and the business stuff follows. Especially with a great FD and senior management team – and there I’m blessed…