TikTok in Russia: how children's jokes turn into big money

TikTok in Russia: how children's jokes turn into big money
TikTok in Russia: how children's jokes turn into big money
7 December 2020, 17:08Photo: youtube.com
The Tik-Tok platform overtook Instagram in 2020 in terms of the number of downloads. 2 billion times users have downloaded short video content. In Russia, every 7 Russians use Tik-Tok. Large advertisers have also discovered the platform. Novye Izvestia discussed a new player in the Russian media landscape with experts

Yelena Ivanova, Natalia Seibil

Nikita Zelenov came to conquer the capital two months ago. The Ukrainian guy was taken to Moscow by Russian producers when they saw that he had gained 250 thousand subscribers on TikTok. A friend sent them joint videos, they watched and liked it. In TikTok, Nikita is known under the nickname Zelenovv Zelya Voryade (video is here). Now Nikita lives in one of the TikTok houses - Freedom House on full support and does what he loves - he shoots videos. I walk and smile every day, says the artist:

- We have a team of 25 people. We were gathered by the production center, we fell in love with each other and move like a huge machine. We are going with the same goals and with the same ambitions. We haven't even signed contracts yet. We are moving on human trust. There was no such need yet. We all trust each other. Tiktokers are one big family, those with millions of subscribers and those who are at the beginning of the journey.

Тиктокер Никита Зеленов (Зеля)

The Ukrainian TikTok is developing more slowly than the Russian one, but even there the 24-year-old artist had enough money for buns, as he himself says. TikTok was a side income for Nikita, a hobby. He earned money by driving cars from Europe. You can earn 1,500 dollars from the sale of one car, TikTok brought in another 400. But for Nikita, the task of making money is not worth it. In Moscow, he earns 20 percent more than in Ukraine, except for free accommodation and full support in Freedom House. For him, the minimum task is to go to Instagram, and then become an actor:

- There is one person whom I have admired all my life. This is Jim Carrey. This is my top of all the actors. This is a favorite. I like James Franco, I even look like him. He had beautiful roles, I laughed. I love comedians. For example, Pavel Volya is my charisma, to my liking. I love him.

Ролик, который набрал 1 миллион просмотров

In TikTok, the most important thing is to find your "chip", stand out and then hammer at one point, then users begin to recognize you, the audience grows, so Nikita Zelenov is full of optimism:

- I am a versatile person. I can dance and sing, I can drama and comedy. I haven't found myself yet. But at some point this will happen, then the number of subscribers will be forced.

While TikTok lags behind two other services designed for creating and publishing video content, YouTube and Instagram in terms of the number of users. Tik-Tok is used by “only” 700 million people in the world, while Instagram has 1 billion users, and YouTube has 2 billion. As the research conducted by Brand Analytics has shown, for the first time included in the panel TikTok outstripped Youtube in terms of content volume, and in terms of audience activity, with 5.3 million authors, it approached Odnoklassniki.

The popularity of such platforms depends on user-friendliness and on a set of useful features, experts say. Young Tik-Tok did it extremely well. In addition, video consumption is growing the fastest in the world.

The editor-in-chief of the InterMedia news agency Yevgeny Safronov clarifies: - The listed services are specialized for video, but traditional large social networks - Facebook, Sina Weibo, Vkontakte, etc. are actively developing video functionality. Video traffic makes up about 80% of all Internet traffic in the world, it will constantly grow, and there will be more and more personal video channels - already now the most famous of them far exceed traditional TV channels in terms of audience coverage.

Users are attracted to Tik Tok by the simplicity and simplicity of the content, the main thing is to keep it short. Anton Petukhov, CEO of BloggerBase analytical company and CVO of influencer marketing agency Woombat, co-chairman of the Influencer Marketing committee of IAB Russia Association, professionally analyzes the content of the short video service:

- TikTok creates short and light content that evokes emotions and constantly energizes the audience, as well as saves time. There is no need to watch the introduction, the main part and the conclusion, you are immediately presented with the essence in 1 minute. This is very honorable in relation to the user's time. TikTok creates certain peculiarities: both in generations and in the way information is consumed.

Tik-Tok bloggers are actively using additional functionality, bringing video closer to computer games. Animation, titles are not evidence of professionalism, but the addition of new developmental functions, says Yevgeny Safronov. Users are attracted to Tiktok videos, as in any toy, by their brightness, simplicity and accessibility. Professional media do not live in Tik-Tok. They are featured on YouTube. However, do not forget: when YouTube appeared, professionals called it the “gravedigger” of cinema and high-quality video production. He was scolded for his primitiveness and naivety in the choice of pictorial means. 20 years later, YouTube has become the first among equals, ahead of television in reach and popularity.

There are parallels in development. In YouTube, the timing was initially 3-5 minutes. Now 30-minute programs scare no one, and they are gaining millions of views. It is possible that the minute-long Tik-Tok content will give way to longer viewing. Moreover, his audience has ceased to be so young. Having appeared as a "children's" service, Tik-Tok has ceased to be such. Over the past year, the average age of users has exceeded 25 years. But TikTok's audience has also increased - and this is a fact. But for now, the brevity of the forms remains attractive to everyone who uses this video service. Anton Petukhov says:

- TikTok is developing and has already reached a new level of the adult audience. Now it is an opportunity to make money, show ads, attract advertisers. The audience has already started asking questions: “Why should I go to YouTube, where the essence of a 30-minute video can be expressed in two sentences?” In TikTok, the essence is conveyed up to 1 minute.

TikTok's content has already changed, it will only expand to attract more adult audience, followed by the advertiser. Youth challenges are being replaced by professional content with acting, hobbies, and music. It becomes more varied. On the platform itself, they say that TikTok is an inclusive platform. Kristina Yeremeyeva , spokeswoman for TikTok, believes that with the expansion of the global community, the amount of content that is interesting to an audience of different ages is increasing:

Тиктокер, учитель математики Николай Милованов

- Despite the fact that, first of all, the site is associated with youth trends, we have a lot of older content authors, and many of them are becoming real favorites of the community. For example, the teacher of mathematics Nikolay Milovanov, who creatively tells formulas and rules. Another example is @ babagalya70, @ ded.official - they make interesting and original content and get a lot of audience support. TikTok brings together different generations and helps to speak the same language.

Звезда ТикТока Дина Саева

This can be seen from the Tik-Tok "stars" Pissing boys and girls are replaced by quite professional artists, although many of them are under 20 years old. Dina Sayeva took the first line in the top 10 of TikTok. And although Dina shoots straight teen content, she has 16 million followers. According to Forbes, Dina earns 800,000 rubles a month. In September, she bypassed Rakhim Abramov, her boyfriend.

Дина Саева и Рахим Абрамов

Rakhim Abramov began his blogging career on Instagram. Together, he has 16 million subscribers on TikTok and Instagram, and most of them - 10 million - on TikTok. The short entertaining videos - the Vines that he and a friend filmed 5 years ago - are history. Now Abramov writes his own songs. For his song Fendi, fans have recorded a video and danced 3 million times. For the Russian segment, TikTok is an absolute record. His income in TikTok is 10.47 million rubles.

Yulia Gavrilina, or Yulka Shpulka, occupies the fourth line on the podium of the video platform. She graduated from high school this summer. Yulka Shpulka started her career at TikTok 6 years ago and filmed short comic videos, dances and hits. This spring she announced the start of her musical career and released 2 tracks - Juju and Ping Pong.

Юлька Шпулька

By the number of subscribers on Tiktok, @kiryalife is in the lead, showing parkour tricks. But for TikTok, the number of followers is not the most revealing metric, because users usually do not watch videos from the authors they follow, but the content that the recommendation feed offers them based on their interests. The number of views and likes plays an important role.

Anton Petukhov says that young people are attracted by the simplicity of TikTok and that everyone can become popular, there is no need to be professional and talented. You can record a gesture video to the beat of the music and people will love it. But it's important to make as much content as possible to get noticed. This is not YouTube, where you need to edit for a long time, in TikTok you can edit a video in 10 minutes, taking into account the filters possible there. TikToku is interested in a lot of content, for which he encourages views and likes. Kristina Yeremeyeva disagrees with the simplified understanding of the platform:

- Cooks show recipes, make-up masters show makeup tutorials, fitness instructors show video workouts. And then there are lawyers, psychologists and teachers. Each creator contributes something new and creative to the huge TikTok community. What sets TikTok apart is the atmosphere of absolute creativity and freedom of expression, sincerity and real emotions of the content authors.

Changes in Tik Tok's content led to the fact that large players in the advertising market came to the platform. Coca-Cola, MegaFon, Mail.ru, McDonald's are advertisers interested in a young female audience, since 60% of users are women - all are already here. Unlike other social networks, Tik-Tok took over the distribution of the advertising pie.

“When TikTok hit the market, it was very unusual for standard influencer marketing. On other sites, bloggers have many opportunities to make money directly from advertisers. In TikTok, the opposite is true. To reach and recognize a brand, you need to brand the channel or use hashtags. If you want to scale a challenge from a company, then you need to make a contribution to the Russian TikTok for the distribution of the hashtag. This is a smart system from a platform point of view. You can stay with one blogger, but then you deprive yourself of the possibility of a comprehensive story and the main USP of the site - UGC, says Anton Petukhov.

Creators can work directly with brands and agencies, Kristina Eremeeva from TikTok said in an interview with Novy Izvestia. As one blogger aptly pointed out, compared to footballer Arshavin in his prime years, Tiktokers' earnings are not that great. Danya Milokhin, the TikTok star, who recorded the soundtrack with Timati and visited the Evening Urgant, moved from sixth position to third in six months. He receives 2 million rubles a month, including income outside TikTok. TikTok's 16 million subscribers bring Dina Saeva 800 thousand rubles a month.

Anton Petukhov believes that TikTok is a media resource that obeys the laws of the market. Yevgeny Safronov knows that social networks are the media Wild West, where tough laws reign, and very serious sums, millions are paid in black:

- This business as a whole is almost completely criminal, there is a lot of dirt, insults, calls to violence, fraud, hidden advertising, political propaganda and other unsightly things for which conventional media would have been closed long ago, and the owners and managers were imprisoned.

The fact is that according to the law, accounts are not considered mass media - neither Roskomnadzor nor the FAS see them at all, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB only in individual cases. Compared to the official media, social media accounts are in an advantageous position - there is no financial control, de facto black cash is allowed, they can publish almost anything. That is, the business is very profitable (I will assume that for the time being)...

The truth lies somewhere in between. The regulation of the media in Russia and the tough and sometimes cruel state control over content create unequal conditions if we compare the situation of licensed media with the situation of account holders with millions of subscribers. However, this is not a problem of platforms, but a problem of the state. In addition, in the absence of social lifts, platforms such as TikTok give young people hope that they can make a career without being the daughter of Alsou or the son of an oligarch. The examples of Dina Saeva and Dani Milokhin are impressive. And Yulia Gavrilina says that she will definitely go on to study and will study management in absentia.

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