Shant TV’s Vaghe Avanesyan: “Partnership with Medialogistika was the only right decision”
Question: What audiences are the Shant TV channels targeting in Russia?
Vaghe Avanesyan: Today, Shant is a family of television channels that meet all the modern requirements of the audiences.
I will try to explain briefly why our audience is so devoted to Shant TV. It was founded in the city of Gyumri (former Leninakan) in 1994. This was a very difficult period marked by post-Soviet dislocation, the disastrous aftermath of the earthquake (the December 1998 magnitude 6.8-7.2 earthquake in Spitak), the land blockade, rotating power cuts, and, as a consequence, the total apathy towards everything among the people. At that point, Shant TV appeared and began presenting unbiased news, raising real issues that concerned people and broadcasting quality music and movies. Everyone fell for Shant TV, young and old.
Later, Shant TV became a national channel and started following the trends of the global television industry, adapting international formats. It started producing its own series, which local Armenians recorded on VHS cassettes and later on DVD and sent to their relatives in the diasporas. So, when we acquired satellite capability in 2008, Armenians all over the world were very enthusiastic.
Naturally, we have a very large audience in Russia because the Armenian diaspora exceeds 3 million people here. We realize that modern viewers’ needs are quite diverse and so we have launched several niche channels – news, music, sports, cinema and children’s content. Now our viewers can choose what they like best, whereas the older generation prefers our flagship channel Shant Premium HD that has a more traditional format.
Question: Is Armenian the main broadcasting language? Does this mean you are targeting only the Armenian diaspora in Russia?
Vaghe Avanesyan: Right now, we are, indeed, focused on the Armenian speakers alone. This is not very easy either, because the Armenian diaspora doesn’t have concentrated areas of settlement in Russia; Armenians live all over Russia. Every one chooses their own communications provider and operator. This is why we needed a platform that would work with all operators. For instance, we have a partner through which Shant TV has only eight subscribers and, believe me, they are very important to us.
Question: Why did you chose Medialogistika as the partner for ground-based distribution in Russia?
Vaghe Avanesyan: We already had a presence in the Russian market before the transition to cable distribution. The operators that we had partnered with since 2010 received the Shant TV signal via satellite. Before choosing Medialogistika, we consulted our partners, primarily the major communications operators. After the first round of consultations, our technical experts concluded that it was best to go with Medialogistika because our key partners in the Russian market had long-term relations with this platform.
Then, our technical experts were instructed to study the feasibility of broadcasting to all of Russia’s territory and of transferring our channels to small operators via Medialogistika. Once again, it appeared that this platform had the widest coverage in Russia, which allowed us to cooperate even with the smallest operators in remote villages.
In fact, partnering with Medialogistika was the only right decision for Shant TV.
Question: Why did you decide to grant Medialogistika exclusive rights to your channel’s ground-based distribution?
Vaghe Avanesyan: For two reasons. One is economic. Medialogistika offers attractive financial mechanisms for exclusive distribution.
The other reason was that we could no longer go back to the signal distribution problem. When other companies give us a proposal we are forced to discuss it, but we eventually conclude that our current partner offers us better terms. So, in this situation we simply save time and resources by avoiding lengthy talks and estimates.
Question: What other goals does cooperation with Medialogistika allow you to address?
Vaghe Avanesyan: Medialogistika manages the full distribution of Shant channels in Russia and in some European countries. This is convenient because we just send our channels to Medialogistika and the local operators receive them from Medialogistika in the format they need. Our partner’s specialists provide all the technical support we need to reconvert the video flows.