Balkovsky is 55 years old and he has not worked for a single day in his life. School, army and study at Moscow State University came in the Soviet era, and after the collapse of the USSR, he moved into the advertising business. His agency – LBL Media – owned the largest advertising banner in Europe, for the rental of which the company received $ 300,000 per year. In 2003, Balkovsky sold his share to partners and tried to engage in development: he bought buildings from the Begovaya metro station, but soon sold them, without having made any project. His daughter Alexandra was then 8 years old.
Parents did not limit little Sasha – she could spend as much time at the computer, but asked her to show the videos she was shooting. “Like crazy parents, we wanted to give her a violin or piano at the age of four, but she was not inclined to it,” laughs Balkovsky.
In 2010, at the age of 13, Alexandra Balkovskaya started a blog on YouTube, she began to systematically upload a video in Russian in Russian in 2012. The following year, the number of subscribers to the channel exceeded 100,000 and the video blogger received the first promotional offer from L’Oreal. For the integration, Sasha Spielberg received 100,000 rubles.
“In 2014, it was believed that 100,000 rubles was a huge budget for a blogger, and in 2018 the conversation was just starting at one million rubles,” says Balkovsky, who reports on the market prices. When the first advertisers appeared, Balkovsky became the manager of his daughter in order to fight for fair wages in the new industry – he did not like the agency, he said, “parasitized” on bloggers: “there were cases when the agency’s budget had a million rubles, and Sasha and other bloggers were offered 20,000 rubles. ”
“I have never worked with Sasha as a producer, because the producer takes part in creating content, and I couldn’t create content for junior schoolchildren at the dawn of Sasha’s career,” emphasizes Balkovsky.
There were more offers for advertising contracts than Sasha Spielberg could master, and Balkovsky began to hand out advertisements to other bloggers: “We took only the most expensive contracts, and the rest gave nice guys who make content for a commission of 10-20%,” recalls he.
In 2015, employees of the Bazelevs film company, director Timur Bekmambetov, contacted Sasha and offered cooperation – Sasha was supposed to make a video based on the new film of the studio “Remove from friends”. The video came out, collected 4.5 million views, and Balkovsky met Bekmambetov personally and in a few months created the Z Agency based on Bazelevs, which became involved in the promotion of video bloggers.
The first clients of Z Agency, with whom Balkovsky was introduced by Sasha Spielberg, were bloggers Lena Sheydlina, Karina Kasparyants, Yulya Pushman. About the rates of these bloggers gives a presentation of the lawsuit filed by Z Agency at the end of 2018 to one of the clients – the agency demanded to collect 710,000 rubles unpaid under the agreement on the placement of four advertising posts in the accounts of these bloggers and blogger Alyona Venum. Sheydlin has 4.2 million subscribers on Instagram, Pushman has 2.2 million, Kasparyants has 1.4 million, Venum has 2.5 million Now they are all “free-floating,” says Balkovsky. On the Z Agency website, they all appear as exclusive agency bloggers, but Balkovsky says that he has not updated the site for two years.
In 2016, the net profit of the agency Balkovsky, according to SPARK-Interfax, amounted to 5 million rubles with revenue of 23.7 million rubles, by the end of 2017, the agency was able to earn only 81,000 rubles with revenue of 26 million rubles. In these indicators there is no income for Sasha Spielberg, says Balkovsky. In addition, according to him, only the agency commission is reflected in the statements, contracts are concluded directly with bloggers, who then transfer its share to the agency.
There are many agencies on the market that are larger than the Z Agency, which serve more advertisers and earn more, said Vasily Yashchuk, the founder of the Players bloggers agency. Sasha Spielberg was “girl number one in 2015 and 2016, but now there are bloggers and influensers much bigger than her,” he notes. Balkovsky was one of the first who seriously approached this field, confirms the founder of Players, but now he cannot be called the most influential person in Internet marketing, as he is responsible only for a small piece of the market: Sasha Spielberg, his artists and Z Agency. This is less than 10% of the market of bloggers and influenzers, which can be estimated at 5-6 billion rubles. in 2019, says Yashchuk.
Contract with the manufacturer
At the end of July 2019, a new collection will appear in all Tvoye stores – a clothing created together with the Ukrainian pop group Artik & Asti. The songs of the group, founded in 2010, consistently occupy the first lines in the Russian tops in Yandex. Music "and Apple Music.
Artik & Asti Murch is one of several dozen collaborations with artists and bloggers that Tvoy is planning to release in the near future. A year ago, Balkovsky began working with a Russian clothing manufacturer: “This is a shrewd brand that understands that a new generation of customers is a generation of social networks.” Z Agency develops and implements the “Your” strategy on the Internet. The agency helps to social networks and organizes a "collaboration with the blogosphere." The brand together with musicians, opinion leaders and bloggers produces joint collections of clothing. Among them is a collaboration with popular HPS (1.8 million subscribers), blogger Ilya Belov (@belovme, 770 thousand followers on YouTube) and others.
Balkovsky does not disclose the commission that he receives from "Your". The company released “five successful joint collections with opinion leaders, a few dozen more – in the work,” the owner of the Tvoy brand, Igor Yushkevich, conveyed through the press service. He notes that the speed of sales and interest in these collections are “high”. “Opinion leaders give ideas and an audience,“ Yours ”- development, production and distribution,” adds Yushkevich.
Balkovsky got acquainted with “Yours”, as well as with most clients, thanks to his daughter: “the brand turned to Sasha Spielberg – he offered her joint activity, we began to communicate and it turned out that they had broader interests”.
One hundred thousand per working day
“My working day costs 100,000 rubles,” says Balkovsky. For this amount, he offers a client who wants to develop their social networks, spend one day together, discuss plans, and tell if they are real. “If I think that they are unreal, then our contacts end there,” the manager is categorical. When Balkovsky sees the potential in his interlocutor, he can offer him "building a strategy." For a private person, this service costs from 500,000 rubles, for a company – from 1 million rubles and can take both a week and six months, says Balkovsky. This sum includes “several pages of printed text, where it is written, what and how to do, as well as two or three units of content,” the co-founder of Z Agency shares. According to Balkovsky, only in the first half of 2019 he was able to advise about 40 people and only with two agreed to continue working. One of them is a young man, “a unique expert in his field of activity”. The second is a girl on maternity leave with a three-year-old child and a wealthy husband who is ready to “work hard”.
“Alexander is a cool person in his industry, he is responsible for advertising, communication and strategy, and I am responsible for the content,” said a video blogger and professional longboarder Anton Zvyagintsev (@aaa_anton). He started working with Balkovsky a year ago – when he had about 60,000 Instagram subscribers and zero on YouTube. Now their number has grown to 160,000 on Instagram and up to 23,000 on YouTube. Zvyagintsev did not disclose the size of the fee, which Z Agency keeps from advertising contracts.
“For 100,000 rubles I will break illusions. Isn't that a lot of money? ”Smiles Balkovsky. In a year he, in his own words, earns "several hundred thousand dollars." But he did not bring a tax return to the meeting.