A start-up story: UzmanTV caught profitability in 4.5 years

I believe that early start-up owners should write a book about their story, even a blog, in Turkey. Successful start-up owners should transfer their knowledge and experience on blogs, just as thesis and studies transfer know-how in academic career.

This story was inspired by Ersan Özer, who started to write his blog again.

Ersan Özer’s article on sitesahibi.com tells about UzmanTV’s journey and how it made today. The 5-year start-up gives decent messages to new entrepreneurs.

My aim for writing about this story is both to extend this article to more people, and to encourage early start-up owners to write their blogs, and we invite them to write for Webrazzi as guest authors. I guess I have to shortly mention about Uzman TV’s story now.

Youtube inspires the idea in 2007
When YouTube boomed in February 2007, Ersan Özer, who wanted to work on video, came up with a video based Q&A website focusing on experts.

Developed in 6 months, Uzman TV gets online in 2007 June and was an original idea for that time. Ersan Özer says first shoots were of poor quality (even bad), even though he had a career in TV, and they got better in time. He says that every start-up needs time, and as to my opinion, he advices start-up owners not to say “it’s piece of cake, I can do it”.

While Ersan Özer believes that content does not exist in Turkey as it is not profitable, he thinks good content can attract brands. He believes advertisers would like to exist in an online platform based on experts, but it turns out they do not.

The service starts to make money in 2009
UzmanTV did it and became one of the 3 Turkish start-ups among Endeavor start-ups, but for 3 three year nobody wanted UzmanTV publish their ads. As there is not a clear income and professional video shooting turns out to be more expensive than it was thought, a total of nearly 5-6 million is spent for UzmanTV.

Finally in-the-video ads show an inclining trend towards the end of 2009 and UzmanTV begins to make money. However first sales are made through TV planning agencies, not digital planners. As digital agencies step forward in-the-video advertising in 2010, UzmanTV gains importance.

Website gains profitability after 4.5 years
It seems hard to believe, but UzmanTV finally gains profitability in 2011 November for the first time. The start-up closes 2011 with a better performance compared to 2010, and it doubled its profit in December. Ersan Özer believes that the income will grow by 100 percent in 2012, and UzmanTV will make money as much as dating websites.

In short
UzmanTV’s first years were not as compelling as Yemeksepeti, but it took a while to start to make profit. This project taught start-up owners to start quality businesses, not to overestimate themselves and try to make money in short time. You can surely find investors if you search for them, but you should always remember that investors look for start-ups of high quality. First, you should try offer good services that provide sustainability.

Uzman TV now has a running earnings model. It offers non-ad watching for a yearly paid subscription. UzmanTV Academy sells advanced expert videos, on the other hand UzmanTV Guide and UzmanTV iPhone application continue to offer high quality content service.

Turkey needs this kind of projects more than it did yesterday. If you haven’t yet, please visit Ersan Özer’s answers to 2011-2012 evaluation articles. Hopefully, Ersan Özer and other first generation Turkish entrepreneurs will share more good stuff with us. BTW let me remind you that sustainability is important also for blog writing, it is hard to be stable and one should beign with small scale aims.

Original Post: Bir girişim hikayesi: UzmanTV karlılığı 4,5 yılda yakaladı

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