Aparat is a well-known Iranian content-based platform that Shakouri Moghaddam brothers with the difference of one year born in 1982 and 1983 introduced it. Shakouri Moghaddam brothers who were 22- and 21-years old had a Pride of 5 million Tomans in 2005 as their whole capital, and currently, in 2017, they announce that the minimum price of their business is $ 270 million.
If we assume that Aparat is the most successful Iranian version of its kind, we should statistically state that 300 million successful video advertisements are currently displayed on this platform monthly and has 25 million unique observers and more than 10,000 sites and applications cooperate with Aparat.
Mohammad Mahdi Shakouri Moghaddam, CEO of Sabaidea, member of the Board and Deputy CEO of Sabaidea and co-founder of Aparat, has told "Shanbeh" about the processes of establishing Sabaidea and their most famous businesses, Aparat and Sabaidea.
Talking with Mohammad Mahdi Shakouri Moghaddam, CEO of Sabaidea
Other approaches to this conversation included the story of their first revenue earned by the online advertising market, the significance of content-based platforms, and the challenge to Broadcasting organization and it is possible to read them in the following parts.
If we assume that 2005 was the starting point of your serious activity in the digital field, in fact, we are discussing a year when the digital and online discussion was not serious at all in Iran. What did you think of making money in the online field?
We examined the global examples and their ways to make money and earn revenue from this field and did not even imagine that Iran is at least 8 years behind the world in this field and we thought that can earn revenue more than Iran's current reality. Of course, we thought that we had to stand up even with many difficulties.
You may not believe that our first advertising revenue was 40,000 tomans that we acquired from an immigration law office.
Did a successful example operate in this field before you?
There was a site called Goya at that time that presented links of all sites, newspapers, and networks and was extremely familiar. We observed that it has taken that amount of Persian web advertising, we became highly motivated to communicate with such sites and get advertisements from them.
Of course, such websites had no serious development model, and we learned various things from them during the time.
How much was the most serious and attractive money you earned at that time, for example, that made you determine to continue on this program?
Its story is interesting. I will never forget that day, I was in university; It was Ramadan and near the evening. A man called from the Quran exhibition and demanded an advertisement on the first page of Club.com.
We additionally put tariffs on the site and accordingly, they paid us 840 thousand tomans to advertise for a month, which was a significant amount for that time in 2005. We got the money pretty quickly and we gazed at the money check for hours because it was our first serious revenue and we had earned an amount of money that was 20 times higher than 40,000 tomans, and this motivated us to earn more money in this field.
When did Sabaidea Company decide to operate Aparat? Talk about this time and your reasons.
We intended to invest more in the club's social network in 2011. At that time, Facebook was a serious competitor for Iranians and offered many more services and its biggest advantage was preparing a video service from YouTube, which we did not have, and there were also users who were interested in our field of operation, consequently, we should provide instruments for them.
Accordingly, we negotiated with a few companies that operated in the video industry and offered video platforms that they would give their video services to the club, and we would ask money from them, which was both advertisements for them and we had also a video service.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, none of them admitted this cooperation during that period and we concluded in a consulting meeting to start the Aparat service with all its challenges.
The bandwidth was the biggest challenge because bandwidth was extremely expensive in Iran, and if a video service formed in Iran, it would have to be hosted in Iran so that people could watch videos faster. Notwithstanding, Mohammad Javad and I started to operate in this field, and a domain named Aparat significantly motivated us in this field and this name encouraged us to focus more on this task.
The whole Sabaidea complex operates in an integrated structure and is not isolate from each other. We originated the Lenzor site approximately two years after establishing Aparat when Facebook had just bought Instagram, and we felt that it is possible to invest in this field, but we could not focus more on Lenzor because of our focus on Aparat.
Do you mean that Lenzor was deemed to be Instagram Aparat?
We desired to raise it like the Instagram model, but we didn't have enough time to work on it, accordingly, the project did not progress. Although it is still active, we have not concentrated much on it. We also originated the Filimo website at the end of 2014-2015, which was in the field of VOD.
Possibly, Filimo will be the most serious competitor to our products in the future. Because this is a highly new approach and can provide a highly serious future in this field in Iran.
You must have experienced some challenges to establish Aparat due to its modernity and focus on video; For example, you stated the bandwidth. Please, talk more in detail about Aparat.
Bandwidth and providing hardware were the main points. The price of currency was increased concurrently by establishing Aparat, and we would have bought the required equipment, if it used to be $ 5,000, it was now $ 20,000, and we had to pay heavy costs.
On the other hand, when we need to be a host in Iran, we had to obtain hardware and encountered the problem of continually filling the hard drives, and we had to have a stronger processing system and purchase newer products. Content that our friends provided previously was different from current content, and we were not experienced in this field.
For instance, the video which people uploaded had a large volume and could not be displayed because it took a lot of space and should be converted to a better state. There were also serious laws related to video in the country in addition to technology and hardware problems.
We started an unknown operation and we had many challenges with different institutions during these years, but currently, we have been able to be successful in this field with all these difficulties.