What do you do when a bulk of your revenues comes from display (banner) advertising and you expect an upcoming economic crisis may eat it up? You invest free cash to diversify revenues. This is what Mail.ru, Russia’s 3rd largest Internet company in terms of revenues, has done.
First, it released its own search engine GoGo.ru with intention to generate more revenues from search contextual ads.
Then, Mail.ru became a major investor in production of mystical adventure movie “Viy” in exchange for movie box office returns, reported business newspaper Kommersant. The amount of $5 million invested by Mail.ru last summer should have covered some 25 percent of movie’s budget.
Viy is produced by film company RFG (ROSPOfilm Group) together with Ukrainian TV channel Inter, film distributor Caroprokat, Gorky Film Studio, and film company STEP by STEP.
The movie is based on the book of the same title of Nikolay Gogol. Here is a link to a trailer of Viy, which is expected to be out in cinemas in Q4 2009.
The Russian box office reached $830 million in 2008, up 47% from 2007.