While the broadband Internet access service providers actively roll out their triple-play (Internet, TV, and telephony) networks in major Russian cities and make prices affordable to mass market, they face a shortage of online TV content to meet demand from their subscribers.
TV Click is the first ‘pure’ Internet TV service provider that has been just launched.
TV Click produces or acquires video shows made specifically for Internet and broadcasts them via its own website and partner sites. TV Click expects to have 30 channels by the end of the year (11 channels – now). Its goal is to reach 1 million monthly uniques in six months. That sounds very ambitious, though, achievable. The company plans embedding advertisements in videos at $150 per 1000 views and sharing revenues with partner sites and show producers. ABRT Fund, an investment vehicle of software entrepreneurs Andrei Baronov and Ratmir Timashev, put in less than $2 million in exchange for a 45% stake in the venture. The founders of TV Click come from the multimedia lab Ksan.
I was invited for a TV Click launch party on Tuesday night. It took place in a trendy bar in downtown Moscow and was hosted by a couple of TV celebrities. I found out that a show producer had been offered $2000 to make 10 episodes of 5 minutes each for TV Click. That makes an economics of the venture very attractive because it costs about EUR 4000 per episode in Europe.
The competition among online TV service providers is only going to grow. The Moscow-based cable TV operator Akado, that is part of Renova Media, launched free online broadcasting of several entertainment TV channels.
Delta Private Equity Partners is in talks with Nafta Moskva to exchange its majority stake in Almirida, a holding company for producer of mass-market pay TV channels Novy Vybor and provider of TV and game content Netville, for equity in National Telecommunications, a newly created holding with cable TV and Internet access operations in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg.
At least three new Internet TV ventures are expected to be launched soon.
Disclaimer: ABRT Fund is a shareholder at Quintura where I am President & CEO.