VSCE # 1: a podcast about media entrepreneurs

    This is a program for those who are interested in IT business, new business models and everything related to project management, media and content production.

    Today we bring to your attention the text transcript of our podcast. The guest of the first issue is Sergey Baryshnikov, the founder of the BigPicture.ru media group:

    Minute video teaser for this release on Facebook and IGTV

    dmitrykabanov : Please tell us about the current state of the project - what is BigPikcha? If you do not dig much into finance, but concentrate on those who read and watch.

    Sergey Baryshnikov: “BigPikcha” now is first and foremost a media group . We do not believe that media is a business. He rather smoothly flows into a certain PR-project, and then into a business.

    We do not plan to earn on the site in the future. For us, the main business is an agency in which the same people work as in the BigPicture.ru project.

    Dmitry: This is a content project that everyone knows. He is very popular. This is a multi-million dollar audience. A few years ago, you also became an agency.

    Sergei:Yes. BigPikchu is now visited by 4.5 million people per month. Our business model is such that clients come to us for special projects or for native advertising, and then some of them also become agency clients. We help them to be placed in the media, work with bloggers, do SMM, PR, video production and that's it.

    D: The project by the general standards of the Russian Internet is quite old, but now, as you say, it has grown into new components. How do you look at the audience? Does it consist of older people, or are you already attacking the millennials and those who are younger?

    S: You just said about the old project. I literally talked to a journalist this morning. She began her interview with the words: "Sergei, you have a startup, how are you doing there?"

    D:This startup started in 2006.

    S: In 2008 or even in 2009. We are 9 years old, but we feel like a start-up, because in the beginning we had 2 people, it was the usual “blozhik”. We were engaged in everything: content, advertising, and PR - all that we can.

    We were such “a la bloggers”, but with a claim to the novice media. This did not last long - 5 years - until we came to our editorial office, to our sales department, and now to the agency. As for the BigPichee audience, it does not change much - age, as it was, 25–35 years old - we have very few young people. The main audience consists of office workers who buy cars on credit, take a mortgage, go to rest in Turkey.

    D: Right now, the work of the PR agency has already begun.

    WITH:"Well, who is there with you?" - A typical client question. As we said 8 years ago, we are saying now: “We have an audience that is 25–35 years old.”

    I will explain why this happened. We left the entertainment content and understand perfectly well what Chip, YaPlakal and Peekaboo are earning now and now. We separated ourselves from this concept immediately, because in these projects, as I then believed, there is a lot of traffic, and the contact price for advertisers is very small.

    There is such a stereotype that there is some kind of youth who look at some kind of “memchiki,” joking successfully or unsuccessfully, and so on. We immediately walked away from this topic and made content that partly overlaps with what is on these resources, but we are not ashamed to look at work.

    D:When you do not close the tab, if the head is suitable for your workplace.

    S: Yes. Absolutely “decent” content, which is not a shame to show “to a neighbor on a desk” - a work colleague.

    Sergey Baryshnikov on Facebook

    D: That moment with the journalist you mentioned. Was it a bwin case? Special project dedicated to the World Cup?

    S: Not exactly. These are the filming of the “First Channel”, which we spend the last 2 days. We are interested in them not as media, not as BigPikcha, but as a group of active comrades on Facebook, which for some reason decided to bet on all the championship matches. This activity is one of our commercial projects.

    We have several special projects at the same time. One with Avito - today we releasedvideo about how we equipped our new office exclusively with Avito products. With PROMT, we shot 3 viral videos with foreigners, for example, about how they sing Shnur's songs.

    Although we are not very many - about 20 people - we are trying to simultaneously conduct several special projects, because we really need money. We have no investors, and we live exclusively on what we have earned. In July, we will live on what we earned in June.

    And so it goes on for 9 years.

    D: These projects are partly intra-corporate. Do all of the company's employees take part in them?

    WITH:Increasingly, we are following a model in which bloggers become the heroes of our special projects. Known and not. For example, in the last project with Huawei in the title role was Stas Davydov. In May there was a special project with Shell, where the main characters were Seryozha Anashkevich and Petya Lavygin.

    We take the strengths of bloggers and their audience, and take us as a media that can count everything. The weak side of bloggers is weak analytics. Somewhere there goes traffic, and then - it is not clear what. When they become the main characters on our site, we can regulate the traffic, we can direct it anywhere, we can turn on different mechanics, and the whole story becomes manageable. This is something that modern advertisers really need.

    D:You provide a link between brands and those who “move” the audience, those who attract it.

    S: Brands, media and bloggers are quite a rare combination in our country. Many believe that bloggers are a kind of risk zone. They are “on their minds”, money for them is not always the main stimulator of good work, and so on. Since we are an agency that deals with bloggers, over the years we have found the keys to solving all these problems.

    D: Can you reveal these concerns in more detail: overvalued audience, overpriced, risk of “unexpected” creativity that the brand will not like? Something like that?

    WITH:I practically don’t know brands that haven’t tried bloggers yet. When such a desire arises in the company, it seems to the client that everything is very simple: he came, found out the cost, sent the money and waited for the result.

    In fact, this does not work at all. Now there is a very large selection of bloggers, and even if someone has “entered” one product category or one area of ​​customer activity, it is not at all necessary that another will enter.

    For most modern bloggers, money is not the main incentive to answer for the product to which they subscribed. These are people with their own vision of how their content should look, what their ground should look like. There have been many cases in which even a contract for 1-2 million rubles was not a guarantee that everything will be fine.

    The third point is that bloggers are still struggling to become entrepreneurs. This complicates commercial relations. Starting from the conclusion of the contract and ending with the payment and other things. As a result, a pool of working bloggers is recruited exclusively by trial and error. There is a struggle for every blogger who works and is useful for business, and all the agencies care for him and cherish. Only with the help of a serious examination is this pool going, with which you can continue to work. Information about the project BigPicture.ru | Advertising Agency SALO | About the entire media group D: You touched the financial component. We all know that you have a big plan that you call “100 Lyams per year.” Can you tell us in more detail how you came to this, and how far it is going according to schedule?

    S: We usually come to these ideas like this: we sit down after work, discuss matters and the question arises: “Listen, can we arrange some kind of challenge? For example, 100 Lyamov to collect? ".

    How we came to this particular figure: we want to grow multiply. Last year, we had revenue of about 44–46 million rubles, I would like to grow at least twice. I really hope that we will grow up, because the agent business is most often “autumn plus December” when the main money comes. Now we are going a little bit behind - half a year has passed, and our revenue is about 40 with something million rubles.

    D: That is, last year’s volume has almost passed?

    WITH:Yes, almost gone, but I'm still not very pleased. We could definitely catch more tenders, fit into more stories, but resources, unfortunately, are finite. I don't really want to subscribe to something that you can’t accomplish or care about.

    D: If it's not a secret, can you disclose the agency component and the second part - directly from the content projects - in the total revenue as a percentage or in shares? Third, quarter, fifth?

    S: Yes, we have no secrets. This can be done by every friend of mine on Facebook.. Every Sunday we publish a plate with all the figures, and it is enough just to count everything using a calculator. Offhand: 60–65% of revenue is an agency, and 40–35% is BigPikcha. Here we must not forget that the margin on the site, of course, is higher than in the agency business.

    D: Let's go back to the content. I was interested to find out how much material you are producing now, for example, per month? How much does this amount vary compared to last year? Has it grown or shrunk? Has more point creativity been added, has more longrid become?

    WITH:The editorial staff is currently 5 people. We set a bar for ourselves: every weekday we have to issue 24 materials, every hour one material. As a rule, 15–17 materials are new, 7–9 materials are “repacked” and very popular old ones.

    We have very good analytics. We always see and know how certain topics were adopted a year or two ago. If necessary, we “repack” them and launch them again, because content, especially entertaining-cognitive and historically public, is the task of “repacking”.

    Those who “live” on the Internet know that high-quality materials pop up once or twice a year and collect at least as many views as at the time of the first publication. I believe in the theory of "evergreen content." This is an absolutely working scheme.

    D:And if you dig into the details and look at different channels, these materials are somehow customized depending on a particular social network? Or are they just distributed as it is on the main site?

    S: Now they are distributed through social networks, and it all depends on the general environment. If 3 years ago, some social networks "ruled", now it could be Yandex.Dzen, Telegram and others. There we can have a new audience that has never seen old content.

    D: From the point of view of competitor analysis, can you compare your project with them in terms of the content produced? You have the opportunity to go back to quality materials and restart them - do competitors do something like that? Or are you not looking at them?

    WITH:Of course, I look at competitors, but completely on the reverse side. Advertisers come to us to help them with advertising campaigns, with the preparation of native content for other sites.

    We are the media, and we know all the weaknesses and strengths of our colleagues. We help our clients to work not with those sites that operate according to the principle “subscribed for 10 thousand views, and then - come what may.” We know with which topic and with which approach to go to a specific site. We know how each site relates to a commercial client. I look solely on this side and do not consider who has how many content units it leaves.

    D:In terms of the distribution of employees by specialization, do you now have more people involved in the production of content or, nevertheless, in the management and “unification” of brands and bloggers?

    S: I look at this story a little differently, because we have been building a team-family for a very long time. Together we not only worked, but also rested, invented something, lived as a single mechanism. We knew that each of us happens not only at work, but also in life.

    The last six months or a year we are leaving this model. It is very hard for us. We are moving towards clear KPIs, regulations, roles, because team-family is very good, but there are also other sides of this story.

    This is good for small teams.

    Audio podcast "VSCE" in iTunes andWeb version

    D:You just wrote that it's hard to fire.

    S:Yes, but it’s not so hard to lay off. It is difficult to let people go when at some moment your company grows and goes into a conditional Yandex. On the one hand, you feel pride and joy for this person and for yourself. Because one and a half or two years ago, this person came to you, and he grew so much inside your team that he was called by Yandex. Okay, you take it.

    On the other hand, you understand that it is necessary to urgently find a new person, and it is very difficult and painful, because it is very difficult to find “quality” people.

    We are currently conducting 20-30 interviews per week, and this is not easy.

    D:Where do people mostly come from?

    WITH:Previously, when we were looking exclusively through Facebook, 90% of people came with knowledge about us: they knew about what to expect from us.

    Now we are connecting sites like HeadHunter, Telegram channels and others. A lot of people come from other industries. Despite all these quizzes, preliminary interviews, people come very different.

    My main problem is fear of being wrong and losing time. For me there is nothing worse than taking a person who will work for you for 2-3 months, and you will realize that you were mistaken. Because it is time, and it is your personal decision. I periodically feel sad because of such situations. Such situations began to occur. Previously, they simply did not exist, and I thought it would always be like this.

    D: And how many people do you have in the state now?

    WITH:There are 23 people in the Moscow office, 10–12 people are scattered all over the world. We have developed in Ukraine, a designer in Cyprus, proofreader in Rostov-on-Don and so on.

    D: When I found out about the existence of LJ, you were already on the first line, if I'm not mistaken. So many years have passed, that now you can appreciate some basic mistakes that you may be regretting. What would you do wrong, change something, rebuild, send the project in a different direction? Or do you go depending on the situation and look: what is working today is what needs to be done?

    WITH:I will correct you a little bit: we were in the first place not in LiveJournal, but in the top of Yandex bloggers. 13 months after the start of the project, we were there in the first place. A few years we moved there from first to second place, and then it attracted us a lot of attention from advertisers.

    Then it was not very clear how to evaluate bloggers. Many agencies came precisely because we were the # 1 platform in Yandex.

    If you plunge even deeper, knowing how and why BigPikcha was born, it will become clear that I don’t regret a single gram of anything over these 9 years. This project allowed me to start a new life. BigPikcha gave me everything that I have.

    It began with huge drawbacks and with complete lack of understanding how to live further, what to do next. When people ask me: “Sergey, how was BigPikcha born?”? ”, I reply:“ BigPikcha ”was born against all odds. She was not supposed to be born, but she was born and gave me everything that I have now. ”

    D: Can you tell about some future special projects or about other plans besides financial “100 Lyams per year”?

    S: Everything is very spontaneous. Just one example is enough: the bwin project we mentioned today. He was born literally 3-4 days before the World Cup.

    I took the subway to Kiev. While I was at the Alexander Garden, I thought: “World Championship. I want some kind of movement. It is necessary to stir up something. Without leaving the subway, I sat down on the bench and wrote a post that now we will put on matches. Like, help me with the stakes, and then everything that we win, we drink during the final. And until I got to the office (15–20 minutes), I already had three bookmakers in my PM. All - market leaders, with a partnership offer.

    It was at 10 in the morning. At 10:30, our commercial director was already in touch with them. The next day we had the concept of the project. Even in the morning, our sales department could not imagine that we would have a project, and in the afternoon we “briefed” the designers.

    D: So we live.

    WITH:So we live, yes. All the best comes out spontaneously, and I like it. I get real pleasure from this project because it is interesting, it attracts attention. An important point: for us, a successful special project is not the one where we completed or exceeded the KPI, not the one where we earned money. For us, the main measure of the success of the project is that then, after its completion, at least 2 clients come and say: “But we saw bwin or Avito ...

    D: ... and we want the same”.

    S: ... we have a little more or less money, but we want to do better. "

    Everything. So we were great. There is no other measure.

    Additional reading in our microformat:

    Podcast. How does IT outsourcing work
    ? Why do companies need an English-language blog on Habré
    Stamina - quality that you can’t do without ?
    Not my job in editorial business
    What do you have in this office?
    What is there on Habré: now “✚” and “-” go a whole month

    Archetypes: why
    writer's block stories work : outsourcing content is not fair!
    Video: content is not about SEO, clicks and transitions

    Case: avtogeiki, fintech and content marketing, or why the insurer is outsourced the IT editorial staff of SXSW: How It All Started Techstars

    How the Early Success Stories

    Also popular now: