Advertising is the forerunner factor in all businesses. Just learn how it works, and you will make the most out of your business. Up until a few years ago businesses mostly relied on traditional and print advertising, but today digital advertising in cyberspace is their primary choice. Various digital advertising services available in the cyberspace strive to attract more customers by making interesting offers. Saba vision is one of these services. The advertising service offered by Saba Vision holding, coupled with other advertising giants such as Aparat and Filimo can give you free rein in the field of online advertising. . Mehdi Shakoori Moghaddam, CEO of Saba Vision and Deputy CEO of Sabaidea, is one of those managers who tends to work on his own. He does not believe in large-scale partnerships with online advertising agencies. This belief arises from his idea that his companies stand out among other advertising agencies mainly because they are advertising agencies with media at their disposal. Nevertheless, in an interview which has been annexed to this text, he makes known his intention of forming partnerships with other platforms: Sabavision's pay-per-click / Native V-plus advertising platform is linked to two partner platforms (Yektanet and Mediaad), and their customers can access the Publishers of these two networks via the V-Plus platform. Shakoori has not mentioned anything about Sabavision's share in online advertising market; but he emphasizes that they are always fighting their way into a better future.
There are two major advertising models in the world. The advertising model used by Google and the advertising model used by Facebook. Google, works in partnership with all digital marketing businesses, but tries to focus on its own platform and promotes contents and services offered by others. The Facebook and Instagram models, however, are totally different. They mostly try to promote themselves and advertise their own service. What model does Saba Vision use?
Assuming that all advertising models fall within these two classes, one can argue that Saba Vision is a combination of both models. In other words, Saba vision focuses on the quantitative and qualitative development of the intra-organizational platforms (Filimo and Aparat), in order to increase data traffic and the number of users and consequently increase its share in the advertising market. Meanwhile, this holding tries to contact other websites through the V-Plus platform to distribute customer ads all over the Internet through websites, applications, social networks and…
Will these two models be able to satisfy customer needs forever?
No advertising model is applicable forever. Many of the models that were introduced many years ago are fading away and giving way to new media and ideas. Maybe about 10 years ago, Telegram’s advertisement model was not conceivable for anyone, but today we see that the model has a significant share of the advertising market. In the past, print advertising was more appealing, but today the digital world and cyberspace are increasing their share of advertising market at a pace no one could ever imagine in the past. Although these new models have been able to capture a large share of the market, newer models may challenge this trend in near future. In Saba vision, we try our best to keep up with the latest technological developments and meet the needs of our customers accordingly.
How come you have never formed partnership with other activists, like the partnership between Tapsel and Bazaar which turned out to be very successful a few years ago? Why you have never gone into partnership with other platforms? What is your policy in this field? Is it probable that you change your approach in the future?
When it comes to advertising, we stand out among all advertising agencies, because we serve as advertising agents and have media at our disposal at the same time. Considering Saba vision an independent company, we can argue that this company can, thanks to Aparat and Filimo, have a voice in the field of inter-organizational partnership and this can significantly contribute to promotion of company’s activities. But since we are all members of a single holding, we do not tend to show off our capabilities and rather try to use outputs as a benchmark to evaluate our performance. On the other hand, the advertising capacities of Aparat and Filimo are so great that we do not really need to go into partnership with other companies. Of course, we currently have large-scale cooperation with other ecosystem actors but general public are unaware of them because we have chosen not to beat the drum for them. For example, Sabavision's pay-per-click / native v-plus advertising platform has already been linked to two partner platforms (Yektanet and Mediaad), and our customers can access the publishers of these two networks through the V Plus platform.
What percentage of market share is currently held by Saba Vision? How could smaller and agiler actors such as Pegah, Yekta Net, Tapsel, Bazaar or authoritative actors such as Rubika affect your activity? How much do these actors influence your activity?
Due to the wide range of activities in the field of advertising, it is impossible to exactly say what percentage of the market share we are currently holding, for example, Sabavision's share in video advertising is very high and we are actually a forerunner in this field; but our market share may be smaller in other spheres. Therefore, it is not possible to exactly determine the average advertising market share we are currently holding because a variety of factors are involved in this process and online advertising consists of many spheres. Therefore, annual turnover is the most important indicator that can be used to estimate market share, and I daresay that we have an acceptable market share according to sales figures and are satisfied with it, otherwise we would leave the market. Competitors don’t basically pose any threat. In fact, we always consider competitors as an opportunity that must be seized. In more precise words, multiple competitors in a business model can promote dynamism and give actors an incentive to strive for development which is usually followed by growth of business environment. Multiplicity of competitors is the factor that incites us to work on different and better ideas and fight our way into a better future. At the moment, we don’t have any beef with our competitors, rather, we have gone into partnership with some of them, such as Yektanet, Tapsel, and Bazaar. I think actors who can more effectively meet customer needs and come up with better ideas can hold greater market share in the future. That is why we try to strengthen our team in terms of human resources and services.
As you may know, Monopoly is a controversial mater in this field. How much living space do you give to other actors involved in this field? In fact, Saba vision is a multi-platform. To what extent do you allow a competitor platform to offer services in partnership with you?
In my opinion, there is no monopoly in this field. Speaking of cooperation, we have formed bilateral cooperation with Tapsel and Yektanet, and thanks to this cooperation, they can independently get access to Aparat and Saba vision’s media. We have never tried to foster monopoly in this field and hope other actors can also make the most out of the capacities to offer services to their customers. In the case of Namawa, as you mentioned, there is a conflict of interest. We offer similar services in Sabaidea Holding, and will definitely take advantage of Aparat’s capacity to promote Filimo as one of our products. Similarly, our friends in Namawa, do not provide us with the bandwidth service they are offered on shuttle internet service provider. I think it is undisputed right of any company to take advantage of their own competitive advantage to increase their market share.
As far as we are concerned you tend to incorporate advertising videos and pictures into non-free services. In other words, Users buy a service at a controversial and ridiculously high price, but they end up having to go through some advertisement videos or pictures before being able to use the services. Why?
Taking into account the volume of investment, the number of current users and plans for the year to come, we believe that the service prices are far from realistic. Basically, the difference between the actual price of the service and the investment sum should be supplied from other sources. These services rely on subscription fees paid by users and have no other source of income. So when there is a gap between the actual service price and the current service price, the budget deficit must be supplied via other sources, otherwise the business may fold. So we decided to supply part of the budget deficit through limited advertising services offered on Filimo, so that we may not end up having to raise subscription fees.
SATRA has issued, via ubiquitous audio-visual media, some instructions on online advertising. How could this affect your activities? Do you think it is fair to make online platforms seek SATRA’s approval for election advertising? Don't you have to get the necessary permits from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance? Do you sense some sort of parallelism in this field?
Multiplicity of decision makers and policymakers has been recognized as a major problem in both online advertising and other similar spheres. Advertising centers are conventionally required to obtain a permit from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. In a special case which is related to ubiquitous audio-visual media, however, we are required to obtain permits from another institute. This is by no means a trivial challenge and has always been there. Unfortunately, the victims of this institutional conflict are the private sector and businessmen who are required to obtain permits from both institutes which happen to be driven by personal taste and ideas of their leaders.
According to the instruction issued by SATRA in mid-March, advertisements displayed before or during the presentation of graphic materials to children should be age-appropriate, be in harmony with the main theme of presented materials and finally be in full compliance with the age classification protocols. To what extent do platforms follow these instructions? Are these instructions supposed to be offered by SATRA? What mechanisms are used to implementing such instructions?
We tend to disseminate child-friendly content. For example we currently display specific ads such as baby shampoo ads on the graphic content considered for children. It will also be more useful for us as platforms to display age-appropriate ads to different age groups.
In 2018, the Center for E-Commerce Development announced that they intend to draft a bylaw on online advertising. The next year, they announced that the bylaw had been drafted. What is your idea about this bylaw? Does your field of activity have anything to do with this center?
The wide range of online advertising tools available have made it somewhat difficult to work in this field. Cyberspace and social networks contain a large number of pages, each serving as a medium, and this makes the cyberspace and social media increasingly diverse and extensive. Therefore, it is almost impossible to monitor such a vast space, and in my opinion, a series of frameworks and regulations that determine the advertising type and space as well as the coverage areas need to be created as part of an attempt to organize the cyberspace. Such a framework can offer more clarity with respect to advertising spaces. Monitoring programs in this field should be basically prospective rather than retrospective.
Do you find these instructions cumbersome or necessary? Don’t you think these instructions should be replaced with more effective guidelines? What are the priorities and needs in this field?
Unfortunately, since the legal system and Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance have failed to keep pace with the digital industry as a whole, the decisions made by them are obsolete and not suitable for the future. To make a bad situation worse, the legal system and Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance would not take advantage of businessmen and the private sector’s experiences to make amends or foster improvements. The current enactment system in which laws and regulations are passed without any regard for the feedbacks and experiences of private sector experts, actually leads to formation of a series of laws that cannot be practically enforced. The government believes that the private sector is trying to shriek their responsibility of enforcing rules and regulations, but this is not true. In most cases, these laws are impossible to enforce. I think instead of fueling this conflict, the government should try to take advantage of private sector’s experiences in drafting the laws. Of course, the advertisement field is currently plagued by multiplicity of authorities, and we should know to which institution we should exactly be accountable. We must adopt a forward-looking attitude towards law enactment. Our current Laws and regulations are mostly retrospective and do not really fit the current and future conditions.