Showbiz Industry

More often than not, technologies are used to create shows with elements of augmented and virtual reality. According to Kirillov, it is possible to turn the performance of a Russian pop star into a high-tech show for several million rubles, the profit of software developers will be 15-30%.

Vladislav Shershulsky, Microsoft Russia’s Director of Advanced Technologies, says that the entertainment industry is one of the most beneficial industries for the introduction of new technologies: “Show business is a mobile industry that can easily be used for experiments.

Today, when a large amount of media content is produced, the main task of the performer is not even to like it, but simply to be noticed. This is not an idle desire, but a quite rational approach to increasing box office receipts, adds Dmitry Vasilkov, co-founder of the interactive platform for events. “Show business technologies came recently, but have already taken root.

For this area, the most important commercial component, which can be achieved only by constantly keeping the audience’s interest. And new technologies can help,” says Vasilkov. How much can you earn from the thirst for spectacles and what awaits the entertainment industry in the coming years?

The power in the light

Sergey Shnurov, the leader of the “Leningrad” group, usually does with a guitar and an alcoholic t-shirt at concerts – the hall is delighted with his performances and without any additional entourage. But the last tour of the band was an exception: on the stage next to the performers grew a virtual Khrushchevka with dirty entrances and a rope for laundry, which waved family panties in red peas.

“We used the Khrushchevka as a collective image of Russia, about which the cord sings,” explains Alexander Us, co-founder of the interactive media studio Sila Sveta (it’s a pseudonym, the real name of Alexander Usyskin). It was this company that prepared the concept of stage design and video content for the tour of “Leningrad”.

“We planned to make a full-fledged theatrical action, a set in which all 20 members of the group could interact organically. Khrushchevka, next to the children’s football pitch, bus stop, lights disguised as electric poles”, – with delight describes Us.

But the idea was rejected by the artists themselves. “They thought it was too much, and only half of the concept was left – and thank you for that,” the entrepreneur added. The cost of the draft Usa does not reveal, citing commercial secrets. Sergey Shnurov did not respond to Forbes’ request.

Sila Sveta is one of the leaders in the market of technological solutions in show business. The company’s history began with the purchase of a 700,000 ruble Chinese lighting fixture – Alexander Us and his partner Alexei Rozov wanted to project images onto billboards.

The service did not attract advertisers, and entrepreneurs tried to sell the device. However, no buyers were found. So Us and Rozov decided to refine it in order to enter the nascent market for light shows.

The first major order for the opening of the Ostankino Tower brought $50,000 to the entrepreneurs, who, however, quickly went on current costs. In order to earn money, they rented space in the Roof of the World Club, where they organized light shows for visitors.

The turning point came in 2010, when Sila Sveta received an order from the Moscow government to illuminate the buildings in honor of the 65th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. Things have been going on ever since: Philip Morris, the Central Children’s Store, the Pluschenko Ice Show and Russian pop stars were among the customers.

During seven years of work, besides the tour “Leningrad”, the company managed to arrange performances of rapper Drake, who received two Grammy awards and stadiums of fans all over the world, Ivan Dorn, Polina Gagarina and other performers. “Drake is the most hippie artist in the world, number one in sales.

It was a great success to work with him,” recalls Us. For him, they made an LED screen that created a pseudo volume: viewers thought the stage had no floor, but a bottomless abyss under the performer.

For Pauline Gagarina’s show, they used projection grids that created the effect of images hanging in the air. In this case, the two technologies were combined: the laser shoots at a certain point on the stage, there is an image, and then the light is connected to the work. The synergy of different methods is now in fashion.

Polina Gagarina has become a landmark character in the fate of the company: in 2015, Sila Sveta participated in the preparation of the singer’s performance at Eurovision in Austria.

Then, with the help of light technologies, the artist’s dress was revived: thanks to the projection, it turned into a canvas of starry sky. This case, according to the founders, did not bring them profit, but gave them recognition in the Russian market.

Sila Sveta made a global breakthrough in 2017, when it made a presentation of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which took place in New York. This work led to the later Drake rapper’s company.

Start point

The organization of the show is a nascent and not yet particularly profitable business for Russia, explains Alexander Us. The Russian show business is poor: the market has not grown yet, there are few stadiums and equipment, and the public is not so active,” says the entrepreneur. – In Russia, we can’t work in full, otherwise we’ll make a show at a loss.

According to him, the check for the organization of one technological show for a Russian actor of middle hand does not exceed 7.5 million rubles – this is the maximum for box office receipts in a concert hall of the “Crocus City Hall” level. According to Dmitry Kirillov from Modum Lab, the market value of technological concerts of pop stars starts from 1 million and reaches tens of millions of rubles.

“Everything depends on the level of the contractor: beginners can organize a good show for several hundred thousand rubles, and the price tags of large studios are almost unlimited,” explains Kirillov. According to his estimates, the organizers’ profit ranges from 15% to 30% of this amount.

However, you don’t always get out in plus, assures Us: “We work mostly in zero and do it simply because we are high. Nevertheless, according to SPARK, his revenue for 2017 amounted to 91 million rubles, net profit – 8.9 million rubles (data for 2018 and 2019 are not available in the database).

The company not only organizes concert tours, but also creates light presentations for car and other luxury brands – this brings it the main income.

This situation is typical for this sphere – there are no highly specialized companies in the Russian market earning only on technologies in show business, says Dmitry Kirillov: “The sphere is profitable, but very complicated. The technologies themselves are relatively new, and it is not always clear how to integrate them into the business processes of companies.

The main reason for the low profitability of this area is the serious costs of organizing the show. According to Usa, each technological performance has several standard cost items. Everything starts with the development of the show concept. “You listen to the artist and you come up with a stage-design.

Sometimes it takes a minute, sometimes several months,” says Sila Sveta’s founder. That’s why we make a list of the equipment we need, and that’s a huge cost. “It is also good if the show in Moscow or St. Petersburg, where you can find almost anything.

And if it’s about the regions, you either need to make a separate truncated program, or you need to load all the equipment into trucks and take it to the concert site, and it’s quite different money,” explains Us.

Another important cost item is the software part, or interactive CG content, of the show’s internal filling, which is what makes the equipment work. And, of course, the salary of the team is that of a production crew, lighting designers and technicians.

The organization of high-tech shows in terms of return on investment is also unprofitable for the artists themselves. “Usually, box office receipts do not cover the costs of developing large-scale shows.

This is more of an investment in image. For example, Oleg Bondarchuk’s production of Annie Lorak’s show was clearly worth more than she had collected on tickets, but it helped her to raise sales of her recordings on iTunes, and she became more active in calling for corporate events. It’s a kind of arms race between artists that’s image-based,” says Us.

It’s possible to make money on a product using VR or AR technologies, but if it’s not about concerts of stars, but, for example, about an application with augmented and virtual reality. This is what the BBC Sport channel did last year.

Viewers could watch the World Cup matches in special glasses, which carried them to the virtual stadium where the match was held. According to Stanislav Meshkov, the general director of the company on development of web and mobile applications, the cost of development of such projects is $100 000-300 000, they quickly pay off, bringing the creators up to 25% of net profit.

VR for fun

Technology is transforming not only concert shows, but also other areas of the entertainment industry. For example, the Ekaterinburg company Yokata has learned how to make boring exhibition stands attractive to customers.

For this purpose, engineers have attached a screen to the industrial robot in the form of a hand, on which a three-dimensional image is projected depending on the subject matter of the stand. Specially written software makes the hand synchronize with the change of picture and music.

The development called Kuka was tested at the Innoprom international industrial exhibition in 2015. “The task was trivial – to attract as many people as possible to the customer’s stand.

We coped with it – the stand was visible from afar,” says Dmitry Usyaev, head of the robotics department at the company. The first such integration was made “for the idea”, then we decided to sell the solution for 100,000-200,000 rubles, but there were no interested parties – too expensive pleasure for regional companies.

At that time, Yokata developed a new product – the robot-aided Robocam clip factory. Now Kuka’s hand was the ideal operator to control the camera better than a human, and to the degree that it repeats its movements.

The guest of the event would get up to a certain point, in the background there would be an image from projectors or LED screens, and the robot would begin to shoot. The program captured real-time video from the camera and automatically made editing, color correction, superimposed music and branded the final video.

“In just a minute and a half, a person would get a professional cut from a video zone and send it to his or her post office,” explains Usyayev’s mechanics. The new development has become more successful financially.

Companies that want to attract attention at the exhibitions, Yokata leases the technology for rent for 250,000-350,000 rubles, the cost of assembling and renting the necessary equipment of the company itself is from 150,000 to 200,000 rubles.