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X-media digital CEO Vladimir Nabatov: Our children prefer watching Russian animation on the internet

RAFA newsOctober 04, 2013 14:10

On the eve of the biggest international film markets MIPJUNIOR (5-6 October) and MIPCOM (7-10 October), we proudly present interviews with studio general directors, that take part at RAFA booth. Interview with X-media digital CEO Vladimir Nabatov:

Your specialization is video content distribution on the Internet, can you tell us about the features of the Internet audience, and what is the difference between internet and television distribution. Is it possible to make a cartoon popular without the use of television?

Internet audience in Russia nowadays is so wide that in terms of the socio-demographic data, it is not much different from television. Simply put, almost every person surfs the Internet once in a while. The main difference is the very model of content consumption. On television, there is a linear programming, and you cannot decide what you will be watching next. On the internet – you get to choose what you are willing to watch at this particular point of time. Therefore, online resource cannot afford to put less popular programs in the viewing grid. All content should be of interest to the audience. Nobody will simply watch uninteresting content! On the other hand, the very process of watching video or something else on the internet is much more involved. It is unlikely that a user would turn on some cartoon on the computer or on the tablet to use it as a background.

Is it possible to make a cartoon popular without airing it on TV? A year ago, I didn’t have a certain answer to this question, but today I can say, unequivocally, yes it is! About a year ago we started licensing international properties directly from producers, dubbing it into the Russian language and distributing it on the Internet without going through the traditional channels of distribution. The results speak for themselves. Our channel called TeremokTV, which consists by 75% of the content that was not available on Russian TV channels, generates about 15 million views per month. 

What are the most popular cartoons among Russian children? Can you make up something like a small rating? Is there a difference in this respect between the children of the Russian Federation and children from other countries?

As it can be seen from the mini-rating of cartoons views on YouTube for the last month, our children prefer watching Russian animation on the internet. The reasons for this are clear. This is first of all a really high quality animation, and the idea, which is brought to the audience, is clear. It is also worth noting that the major European and US studios still do not provide legal access to a large number of popular animation series in Russia, according to an advertising model, which undoubtedly affects the interests of the audience and the popularity of the brand. We are also conducting the work aimed at attracting animated products popular around the world in the Russian Federation.

So, you are saying that you have discovered the secret of the popularity of cartoons online, tell us about it? What are the main criteria you are targeting for when selecting content for the active promotion in the Russian Federation?

Of course, it is impossible to predict with 100 percent accuracy the success of a product. But there are some criteria that allow us to more confidently predict success in this regard. Analysis of the set of such criteria is a hard work, and we are doing it every day. Among them are: the duration, the storyline, and the musical theme. Also, we evaluate how the target audience of the new product matches the cartoons which already exist in our catalog. Speaking of the new international content, we primarily focus on our core target audience which is preschoolers.

So you have decided to create your project after analyzing the way the Russians watch cartoons. Tell us about it? What is its competitive advantage? When it comes out, and what results you expect from it?

Our projects are originally produced primarily for the Internet, which of course does not exclude the traditional channels of distribution. There are three main competitive advantages: it is our understanding of the needs of the Internet audience, our promotional resources, and team aimed at achieving good results. Now we are simultaneously developing several projects. One of them is “Painting Book”, which has a very good start on YouTube both in Russian and English. The most popular episode has been watched during this month over one million times! These are very good numbers for a project that does not have an offline support.
What is the difference between a YouTube viewer in Russia and a YouTube viewer in Europe?

Russian YouTube audience is still a little younger. Whereas, in Europe and especially in the United States, YouTube audience is people of all generations, in Russia there is still some imbalance in this respect. Young people spend more time on YouTube. The second point has to do with watching it on mobile platforms and Smart TV/gaming consoles. According to our data in Europe and in the USA, the viewership from mobile devices has already exceeded 50%. In Russia this figure is still about 2 times smaller, but the growth rate of mobile viewers is impressive.  

Is author’s animation on YouTube in demand among viewers in the Russian Federation (in comparison with other countries)?

If we talk about author's animation, the situation with it on YouTube is much better than in traditional media. Of course, it is difficult to plan achieving such successful results which can be compared with such projects as Smeshariki or Masha and the Bear. But YouTube provides free access to the audience which amounts to one billion viewers worldwide. Thus, author's animation has a way bigger chance of finding its audience on YouTube than, say, on TV. The internet and YouTube in particular are generally the only available channel of communication with the audience for a large number of author's works. Russian animators, unfortunately, still do not fully exploit the potential of new media to promote their work.

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