Media Entrepreneurs and Market Dynamics: Case of Russian Media Markets

Media Entrepreneurs and Market Dynamics: Case of Russian Media Markets

Dinara Tokbaeva (University of Westminster, London, UK)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/JMME.2019010103


The post-Soviet space has seen a large-scale transformation of media markets that is marked with an unprecedented rise of entrepreneurial initiatives across business sectors, including media businesses. This paper analysed the dynamics of Russian media markets and the challenges of Russian media entrepreneurs. The media markets of Russia shifted toward more concentration and fragmentation, and media holdings are continuously gaining more power. This paper also looked at the regional media markets of Russia. According to research, there are less than 20 self-sustainable regional media holdings in Russia due to the low capacity of regional advertising markets. National media holdings have a diversified portfolio consisting of different types of media with a growing fraction of digital media companies, and the regional media lag behind in terms of its digital component. Most regional media holdings operate traditional media. Their digital channels are yet to be developed, despite the chief executives' acknowledgement that the future of revenue streams comes from digital channels.
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Russian media have been studied by scholars of various fields, however the economic aspects of Russian media firms, and especially the Russian media markets are under researched. This paper analysed the dynamics of Russian media market transformation with an emphasis on media holdings. This paper also looked at regional media holdings of Russia, that serve the needs of large proportion of population outside the capital, that are often the product of entrepreneurial innovation. By retracing chronological development of Russian media market from 1991 - when the Soviet Union dissolved - till 2017, this paper aims to address what challenges are now faced by aspiring media entrepreneurs that are new to this already concentrated market, as well as established businessmen who run small-, middle- and large-sized media ventures. This paper offers food of thought for researchers of media management and entrepreneurship as it provides an institutional economics perspective on media businesses in one of the largest European countries.

The Specificity of Media Firms

These three features shape how media firms operate and are managed and how they situate themselves in the broader external environment, which includes the state, the competitors and the public. According to Dal Zotto and van Kranenburg (2008), the main forces affecting media companies depending on the market and geographic setting they operate in, are:

  • 1.

    The environment outside of the firm, which includes political, economic and social environment;

  • 2.

    Contextual factors such as organisational culture and leadership;

  • 3.

    Personal factors such as individual behaviour of the employees of a firm;

  • 4.

    Process-related factors such as a clear vision and resources and tools available for strategy implementation.

One more significant difference among media firms is the size of a firm. Academics distinguish between innovation processes in large media firms (Küng, 2008; Napoli, 2011) and small firms (King and Tucci, 2002; McKelvie and Wiklund, 2008), in traditional media (Achtenhagen, 2008) and start-ups (Khajeheian, 2017). For instance, young media firms follow different risk reduction and growth strategies simultaneously to increase their chances of survival (dal Zotto, 2005). Regardless of company size - big or small - organisational culture and innovative performance are interrelated (Küng, 2008; Habann, 2008; van der Wurff and Leenders, 2008). Picard (2011) also specified that productivity of personnel, employee turnover, personnel skills and knowledge and the degree to which a company pursues innovation are closely connected.

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