Interview with the President of "Shant" TV Company Arthur Yezekyan in "ереван" magazine.
One of the leaders of Armenian television TV channel "Shant" started satellite broadcasting in December of 2008. Our compatriots in Russia; from Kaliningrad to Novosibirsk, as well as in the USA, Europe and Middle East have opportunity to watch programs of "Shant" TV. The President of "Shant" TV Company Arthur Yezekyan tells about the creation and today's day of the channel.
On September 22 of 2008 at 23.17 83,8% of turned on TV sets of Yerevan were on "Shant" in Yerevan. The TV viewers were watching series "Trap" which was being broadcasted on the channel for already 5 months. Its success beat all the records. From Monday through Friday day by day the rates of the series remained unchanged, high (average 25,79%). This can fully be described as a new media-phenomenon of the history of commercial television of Armenian. The premiere of the series will take place in some months on satellite broadcasting of "Shant"
"Shant" TV Company is known as a pioneer channel, which successfully attracts new segments of viewers. Integrating to the world's TV-industry "Shant" was the first to make Armenian such hits of international formats as "American Idol", "Who Wants to Be Millionaire", "Power of Ten" and "Got Talent".
According to the data of the worlds famous AGB Nielsen Media Research Company the highest rates of Armenian television in the fall of 2008 belonged to "Shant" TV.
The satellite coordinates: HOT BIRD 11034 V, tp 126, FEC ¾, SE 27500. The satellite transmission is free.
- In the beginning of 90s, founding commercial television, the bounds between the quality and non quality started to disappear with the dizzying feeling of freedom. Where the choices criteria stated then due to which "Shant" acquired the reputation of a channel with exclusively qualified television production?
- What was in the beginning of 90s is hard to call television, more correctly it was the research and entrance to it. The main issue was not the quality in this as well as in many other spheres then. There was a task to live through it, in the literal meaning of this word. Our TV channel was founded in 1994 in Gyumri, in the city that lived though terrible earthquake only several years before that. Add the energetic crisis, the military situation in the country and almost complete absence of traditional finance source; advertisers. Agree that in such conditions we had to speak more about living through and not progress. But perhaps these conditions made us stronger and livelier. As for the choices criteria and principles of creating good television then these were stated quiet later. During first years we just acted in accordance with our beliefs, following the principles we were educated. The criteria were formulated only when "Shant" became a typical TV channel of our times. But I want to mention, that these criteria are not completely a result of successful market strategy research. They more reflect our identity, values chosen by us, our beliefs and philosophy. The most important for us is never make deals on our conscience. And permanent viewers of "Shant" have already been assured in it.
- Those who decided to conquer the capital often have to prove something. "Shant" TV Company was born in Gyumri - the second city of Armenia. Was your path to the leadership full of thorns as well?
- The thing is that broadcasting in the capital we didn't intend to go for leadership. We have never set us such task. If we could develop staying Gyumri the same way as in Yerevan, then we wouldn't even think about moving to the capital. It was the only way of development for us. It is worth mentioning that at the first years few people believed that we could survive in Yerevan and especially have leading position. Although later we had to prove that the success was not accidental, that it was quiet appropriate result of hard work, long years of experience and professionalism.
- The television business laws are quiet harsh. On the one hand the taste of the audience has to be taken into account, on the other hand the taste of advertisers, and eventually the work of competitors.
- I have to say that the TV channel we wanted to created had very little general with the ones already existing in Yerevan then. It means that we had to break stereotypes and introduce something new. We have no one to take example from, no one to ask a peace of advice. The risk was high. But when the recognition comes, one understands that the labour of pioneer is gratifying.
- There are many projects champions by rates in the program chart of "Shant", but would like to mention especially one - "National Singer". Before it was aired the niche of national songs on TV was practically free and not quite relevant. At moment of starting the project were you sure in its commercial advantage or you more thought about its social and cultural value?
- In general, I often say that for "Shant" TV projects that besides commercial success have also cultural and public value are considered perfect. This is why when there is a choice we try to realize such ones. In case of "National Singer", on one hand we were principally against the mixture of concepts of national songs and pseudo-national ("rabis") during last years; on the other hand I realized on the example of my mother how nice it would be for the generation of out parents to listen to real national singing. As a result we made sure in the success of this project in all categories.
- Speaking about the social importance of TV projects one cannot but remember the action "20 years later" dated for the anniversary of the earthquake in Gyurmi. Tell more detailed about it please.
- During last 15 years we referred to this topic innumerable times. But 20 years later we decided to something very essential. First it was planned to organize a project like a TV marathon which would start in the summer of 2008 with our partner - ARTN Shant Company in Los Angeles. Engaging in our compatriots we supposed to devote victims of the earthquake in Gyumri as least one apartment each every week till December 7, 2008. While the project was still in the stage of working out we meet and discussed it with Ralf Yirikyan (General Director of VivaCell-MTS). His willingness to take part financially in the process of acquisition of about 20 apartments was a pleasant surprise for us. The project appeared as a result which didn't leave anyone indifferent.
Due to "20 years later" action more than twenty families that couldn't even dream of something like this saw the New Year in new apartments in Gyumri. We are going to continue this project and involve in it everyone who has willingness and opportunities.
- In December of the last year "Shant" started satellite broadcasting. Is this the market requirement or it's just corporative ambitions?
- Satellite broadcasting, to which we went for 15 years, was a high goal for us in technical aspect. Realizing that out potential audience is not three millions, as it is usually considered in Armenia, but close to seven-eight millions brings up amazing feeling - power, confidence and optimism.By the will of fate quite great number of Armenians are far from the homeland but the modern television allows the homeland to come to their house and blur out all the distance. This means that we can be together again and feel each other, communicate with each other and, if needed, support each other. And the important this helps to return to the roots and keep the national identity. Just the realization of this brings up boundless ideas, letting realization of projects that used to be considered romance before.
We are full of confidence!
A new telenovela of local production started being advertised on “Shant” TV yesterday. Lately the production of telenovelas by different TV companies has increased which by the way started from “Shant” TV.
A new telenovela of local production started being advertised on “Shant” TV yesterday. Lately the production of telenovelas by different TV companies has increased which by the way started from “Shant” TV.
We visited “Shant” TV Company and spoke with responsible people by the traces of the new telenovela called “Dreams”. The head of the scenario team of “Dreams” telenovela Ani Haykazyan told that the series is based on a story of a girl who after challenging many difficulties finally reaches her aim. The main heroine of “Dreams” is Nare, who loses everything in the village even her mother and not having a choice comes to the city where her father lives. But there are many difficulties waiting for her here as well, because the father has another family. How will Nare manage to challenge the problems you will see on air?
“This is a novel about realization of human drea. In general the telenovela is about victories and all-sufficiency issues of the young generation. Our goal is to show today’s reality with its fascination and extremes, human victories and loses. Regardless on which social level they are young people fight for their aims today. This telenovela will give belief and strenghth to young people who have difficulties to challenge the obstacles they meet”, - said Ani Haykazyan.
-How will the new series differ from other Armenian telenovelas telling about poor girls, on this occasion the ehad of scenario team of the novel mentioned that unlike those girls their heroine is not a tragic character.
“The reality in our telenovela is not presented with tears, black colors. Our heroine Nare has the realization that she has to challenge all the difficulties, but not with tears but with stubborn fight.”
-Telenovela producers have a tendency of delaying the end of the series, writing the continuation of the scenario during shootings. In this case as we were assured by the Producer of the series and production department Hunan Soghoyan the scenario is completely ready and is in the stage of processing:
“This is not one of those endless telenovelas. This is a story that has its end, we are not going to extend it, and as for the second season, we will see in the process if it will have one or have a continuation”.
-It is typical that there are mainly involved not known actors in the telenovela. As the producer mentioned they worked towards making new discoveries and they are sure that the viewers wait for talented but yet unknown actors:
“The actors’ crew consists of new names who are not yet known to the viewers. This is one of our approaches and we tried to have new unknown faces both in main and in secondary actors. The actoress of the main heroine is an actress by profession, also a dancer; a beautiful girl, who, we hope, will be loved by the viewers.”
To the question if it is not a bit risky to avoid famous actors and involve only new names, Hunan Soghoyan answered this way:
“”Shant” has always, in all times of its history had unknown faces and the time showed that they have become known and beloved.”
Several episodes are edited at this moment, and the head of scenario team and the producer have liked it. They adviced the viewers not to grudge their time and follow the progress of the new telenovela “Dreams” which will be on air very soon.
Author: Sona Adamyan
The telenovelas filled the Armenian television have so attracted the viewers with their mourning and sadness that indeed it seems like it’s time to find a convenient tree and a strong rope to hang yourself. But when you suddenly see a telenovela full of humour and positive energy among all these, you just get surprised; is what you see a reality? Especially when a sphere is selected for the telenovela, about which you haven’t heard any particular positive thing; the army. “In the Army” telenovela is on “Shant” TV air since 2009, the heroes of which full of humour were boundlessly loved by TV viewers of different ages. “In the Army” telenovela succeeded to change bad opinions of many people about the army. The idea of creating “In the Army” telenovela belongs to the President of “Shant” TV Company Arthur Yezekyan, the aim of who is to prove that the telenovela can have a serious role. “One of the most serious aims of shooting this telenovela was elimination of the negative and avoiding attitude of the viewers towards the Armenian Army, stressing out the significance of the army, deepening the idea of patriotism”, - mentions the producer of “In the Army” telenovela Hunan Soghoyan.
To the question “does “In the Army” telenovela reflect the reality of the Armenian army” H. Soghoyan answers: “It is not right to say that the real army is completely full of negative and bad phenomenon. It’s just that the society hears only negative phenomenon. Unfortunately the media not only in Armenia but also in the whole world considers prior the outrageous and extreme cases. And it is not accidental that good information about the army is reported very random. When you walk in the street and meet people who chat with each other happily with warmth, smile, you don’t pay attention on them. But it would be enough if one hit the other or an accident takes place and the attention of everyone is disturbed to that side. It is not right to suppose out of often bad information that there are no good things in the Armenian Army. Those are just not presented by media. There are other ways for that, for example telenovelas, movie, and books.”
Does the scenario author of “In the Army” telenovela Andranik Isahakyan try to present the real life of the army? Does he have such opportunity?
“I present both the good and the bad. And the future soldier should choose himself how he wants to serve. I can’t agree with the opinion, according to which we hear only bad news about the reality of the army. When shoes hurt our feet we don’t say: “Oh, this is so good”. The young man who has had difficulties will never say that he enjoyed those difficulties; sleepless nights and etc. The results of the service appear in the future life, when the man is able to challenge the difficulties and problems with his experience. I present the army in the way I would like it to be. I also present the negative parts and offer solutions to those. I don’t like naturalism, I present the reality artistically. I want all Armenian guys that are going to serve to clearly realize how they are going to serve and what they shouldn’t do while serving”. – mentions Andranik Isahakyan.
To the question for what age group “In the Army” telenovela was firstly planned for and do they constantly hold queries to find out the ratings of the series, producer H. Soghoyan answers:
“We hold queries only to find out what influence the telenovela has on people. We receive the rating results from special monitoring companies every day. Fortunately “In the Army” telenovela is in the first three of the most watched series in Armenia. Besides, we have feedback from the viewers through our website. We always receive the comments, opinions and suggestions of the viewers, which of course are taken into account. Lately for example we received letter-comment from the Patriotic War veterans, which will be taken into account with pleasure”.
What does “In the Army” telenovela give besides interesting entertainment? Has it been able to serve its main aim; to change the attitude toward army?
“I think, yes. The aim is that the young people have positive attitude towards the army and when the time comes to go the army with that attitude. It is very important that the one going to the army understands what patriotism is and realizes deeply his mission” – said the director of the telenovela Hayk Kbeyan.
Many viewers mention that “In the Army” is a telenovela full of interesting humour after watching which the life doesn’t become harder as in many other telenovelas telling “about life”. Many people see similarities in the heroes with their friends of the army. Since 2009368 episodes have already been shot and as the creative team of “In the Army” mentions it will go on shooting as long as there is interest towards it from the viewers.
Christine MARTIROSYAN | March 12, 2011
We met with the production team of "In the Army" right on their shooting scene where there was atmosphere of real army; with discipline, cheerful mood, humour and positive energy. As it is known, short time after the broadcastin the series stopped. Then it continued. We found out that in the beginning of the shootings some misses complying the military order and disciple were noticed which brought up the discontent of the AF crew of the RA Defense Ministry. From then on the shooting team started to cooperate with the DM; they have advisors who take part in the shootings helping with their remarks and offers.
The actor of Razmik Hakobyan Arthur BARSEGHYAN
-What is your attitude towards the character you embody?
-It is very interesting. My role has a character; this is what every actor dreams about. One has to have mastery to play this role.
-What responds do you hear? Do people recognize you outside?
-They mainly have good attitude, i.e. they appraise as am actor, but the attitude of elders and children are too different.
The actor of the Senior Praporshik Vardanyan Trdat MAKARYAN
-Does the format of the series give opportunity to design a complete character?
-People always think they could do better, although it is hard to reach perfectionism in the fast temp of the series. The character of Serozh (from the series “Vervaratsner in the Family”) was y first role in the series. And I think there is progress here already. However time will come when we will be able to create a complete character in series as well. Let me mention for comparison that our theater has a history of 5000 years and the series of 5 years. But we can say we have reached the same level.
Scenario author Andranik ISAHAKYAN
-Whose idea is the series?
-It is “Shant” TV Company’s.
-What changes are expected, new developments, will there be new charecters?
-There will be big changes. My goal is to make all weak, craven soldiers strong, efficient and patriotic. And I wish the real life was the same way.
-Don’t you think that the character of Armenian commander is not presented impressive enough?
-I think the character of the military unit commander is perfect; strong, smart, person of high moral values, who also punishes in case of necessity. He states the punishment according to the law without usage of beating, offending, position abusing and etc. I think all this is enough to make necessary imporesion.
-Why are there no scenes of relations with Artsakh Defense Army?
-There can be relations with Artsakh DA, as well as other military units of Armenia, it’s just there are always time issues realizing the shootings.
-How long will the series last, as long as the authorities of “Shant” wish?
-It will last as long as we have something to say regardint the topic.
Actor of Tornik Jamshoyan Gor MARTIROSYAN
-Isn’t it hard to embody such character? By the way, where are you from?
-I am from Vedi. It’s not hard anymore; at the beginning it was very hard as there was a sharp change of speech. -Your character is very unique; not only the speech but also the behavior, mentality, mimics; in a way that firt eveyone thought you were a yezdi.
-I embody the character of a yezdi from village, mountains. He is clean with his soul, naïve, pure; he tries to deceit but he it doesn’t work.
-They say rich yezdi people presented jeep to Jamshoyan.
-I bought the jeep by my fair work. But the attitude of yezdis is more than the jeep for me.
-You also sing very well.
-Yes, I sing; I have performed in different groups, taken part in many festivals. I also sing on weddings, this is normal.
-Do you have professional education?
-Yes, I graduated the Theater and Film State Institute, then the state college of culture.
-Is “In the Army” your first service?
-Yes, it is.
Actor of Makar Vahan TOVMASYAN
-How did you appear in this series not having theatrical education?
-My school was the Club of Happy and Invesntive people. After graduating the university I went to Army in 2007. -How was it in army, as ''In the Army''?
-No, of course not. You can't even compare. Serving is a much difficult and serious work; I would say an experience that every man should pass to become mature.
Actor of Minas Artyom Karapetyan
-Seems like eveything is improvisation in your acting.
-There are sometimes, but few. The improvisation may develop the scenario in another direction so we avoid it. In all cases as I am from Gyumri, it has an influence on embodying the character.
-Do you think the series will realize its mission?
-I have witnessed how boys play in the yard by the character of the series. Once there was a fight during the game, and one of the boys said: ''It can't be like this, they don't hit in the series''.
Director Hayk KBEYAN
-Hayk, what is the goal of creating a series with such topic?
-From the beginning the series had one goal; to make people be positive towards the army and to highen the authority of it. For some reason only defencts of the army are presented and spoken about, and no one speaks about the good. The army gives a lot of positive things to the teenager; matureness, friends. Going to the army he returns from there a young man with stable character. Moreover the army successfully fills the misses of the family education. Our aim is to bring up simpathy toward the army and serving there.
-Before they even used to not let their doughters to marry a man who hadn't served. And now there are competely other criteria. Do you think ''In the Army'' series will influence on the mentality of future servicemen?
-I hope it will. Besides, it is very important that the one going to army understands what patriotism; self sacrifice is and deeply realizes his mission.
-Are there the first encouraging results, responds?
-There is a medician we know who tells that boys answer to the question what they want to become, soldier and their favorite game in the yard is ''In the Army''. These are great examples.
-Does "In the Army" correspond to the army?
-I think it does regarding the character.
-And the heroes to the description of Armenian soldiers?
-Human idntities are very different and our soldiers are also different. They have not only their special features but also homeland characters (Jamshoyan, Minas, Hambardzum and others).
-Do the actors have participation in creating the scenario? For example are funny situations created on the shooting scene or they are by scenario?
-There are improvisations but they are included in the scene random, other wise the work of the scenario writer gets very hard. Even in case of Mkho, that seems like has a great participation, does the least improvisations indeed.
Author: Marine GHARAKHANYAN
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