Maxim Sergeevich Puchkov: On the Formation, Development, and Future of the Media Business 

Maxim Puchkov: On Future of the Media Business | The Enterprise World

Maxim Sergeevich Puchkov, one of the leading media managers in Eastern Europe, in speaking about the industry’s past and future, notes that the media market has come a long way since the early 1990s. Today, it is a progressive industry using all the latest technology. 


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Maxim Puchkov: The Foundation of the Domestic Media Market was Laid in the 1990s

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Maxim Puchkov recalls that the country underwent radical changes in all spheres of public life in the 1990s, including the media sector. The future media manager was just beginning his own career in the nascent industry at that time. This period marked a real breakthrough in the realm of freedom of speech and the dissemination of information. 

Maxim Puchkov says that the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the old political system led to the democratization of society and political life in the country. As a result, there was a decrease in state control over the mass media, and the phrase “free media” became embedded in local vocabulary. 

Maxim Puchkov recalls that many new newspapers and magazines catering to a wide range of reader interests got their start in the 1990s. The media expert also notes that many of these publications have become iconic and remain popular to this day. 

Maxim Puchkov, who is now one of the leading managers in the media industry, has spoken about how television also underwent significant changes in those days. It ceased to be a state monopoly, and in the wave of democratization, new independent TV channels emerged, such as NTV from the second half of the 1990s. The channel presented a critical view of government actions and covered events that were previously taboo. 

Maxim Puchkov believes the domestic media business was significantly influenced by the opportunity to exchange experiences with representatives of foreign media. Many Western journalists and experts came to conduct seminars, master classes, and training programs. 

Maxim Puchkov also clarifies that the presence of foreign media encouraged domestic media organizations to improve their content, aiming to meet international standards to be able to compete on the same level with their foreign colleagues. 

Maxim Puchkov points out that since the emergence of commercial mass media, content monetization through advertising has become one of the key methods of media resources becoming self-sufficient, which led to a wave of innovations in advertising formats. This period also opened up opportunities for advertisers to target specific audiences thanks to content adaptation for certain demographic groups. 

Maxim Puchkov was at the forefront of the development of the local advertising industry. He believes that interaction with commercial media led to the need to improve the quality of advertising materials. As a result of these processes, the domestic market saw a rise in professional advertising agencies and marketing organizations, which, in a highly competitive environment, sought to improve the quality of their services. 

One of the most important events of the 1990s was the spread of the internet throughout the country. 

From 1994 to 1997, the first internet editorial offices appeared. It was a time of trial and error, says Maxim Puchkov. News websites and forums began to operate, serving as a platform for the free exchange of opinions and news free of censorship. 

Maxim Puchkov explains that in the era of the emergence of internet media in the country, there were mainly two models of information sites. Some were focused on covering specific topics, while others covered several areas at once (later they would be called portals). 

Maxim Puchkov emphasizes that the economic instability in the country severely hit traditional media and spurred the development of online resources, which began to actively occupy their niche in the media market. By 1998, there were one million internet users in the country. 

In February 1998, the website Polit.Ru was launched, initially operating under the name In August of the same year, RBC.Ru began its operations, and 1999 saw the launch of portals such as,, and others. The following year, internet media were joined by portals such as,, and 

Maxim Puchkov says that these online publications served as the foundation for the formation of standards in domestic online journalism. Their success confirmed that internet platforms are capable of providing high-quality and timely information to a broad audience. 

Maxim Puchkov: Main Trends in Media Management in the 2000s

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Maxim Puchkov explains that the local media faced a number of challenges due to rapid technological development, economic changes, and the political context in the first decade of the 21st century. According to the media manager, this gave rise to new methods of managing and organizing media operations. 

Maxim Puchkov notes that one of the key trends was the centralization of decisions within large media holdings and TV channels. This approach provided more effective control over content, resource allocation, and the coordination of the work of various departments. 

Puchkov Maxim emphasizes that with the growth of competition, the focus was placed on improving the quality of personnel. Media companies actively invested in training and developing their journalists, editors, and managers to maintain competitiveness. 

In the rapidly changing realities of the media environment, strategic planning became an integral part of management, says Puchkov Maxim. Traditional media needed to find new formats to attract and retain an audience amid the burgeoning growth of regular internet usage. 

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich highlights that in the 2000s, digitalization gradually became the leading trend in the domestic media sphere. This process was actively accompanied by an increase in the number of mobile devices, the growth of web resources in the .ru domain zone, and the expansion of internet advertising capabilities. 

Maxim Puchkov notes that by 2012 the Yandex search engine had surpassed Channel One in terms of daily audience. By the start of the next decade, the country already had a powerful and modern media industry. 

Puchkov Maxim: Trends in the Media Business in 2010–2020

Puchkov Maxim, looking back, says that in the period from 2010 to 2020, the formation of large media holdings, associations, and partnerships was inevitable. Media managers opted for the creation of quasi-holdings, incorporating many small local publications. 

Puchkov Maxim notes that the main reason for this consolidation is the desire of media companies to save on expenses and achieve synergistic effects. Many heads of radio and television holdings also expressed the view that consolidation was key to survival in a competitive market. 

Maxim Puchkov continues to maintain an optimistic view of the media industry of those years. High barriers to entry into the field contributed to the resilience of the main industry players, and large media companies continued to dominate the market, controlling the main segments. 

Puchkov Maxim also says that another feature emerged during this decade: While major players maintained control over a significant portion of the market, many small companies found their place in specialized niches, working on a large number of online projects. 

Puchkov Maxim cites data showing that this was facilitated by the development of high-speed internet. By 2017, nearly 46.6% of the population (56 million people) was actively using mobile devices to access the internet. 

This, in turn, influenced users to become more selective. According to Puchkov Maxim, with the development of internet channels, the audience gained the opportunity to choose content independently, and this trend was picked up on by large media holdings. 

Producers clearly identified audience interests and intensified work under the banner of, “Content is King”—a concept formulated by Bill Gates in 1996. This innovative idea was about creating high-quality, in-demand content for paid channels, says Puchkov Maxim. 

Puchkov Maxim explains that in the prevailing conditions of media development, the consumer was ready to pay for premium media products, especially if they were new and matched the specific user’s interests and requests. Thus, the model of selling individually tailored information was successfully implemented by aggregator platforms. 

Continuing to analyze the trends of the past decade, the media expert emphasizes that channel audiences increasingly sought opportunities to independently form content of interest. Thus, the ability to choose interesting channels, programs, and projects was provided on a paid basis. According to Puchkov Maxim, this became a kind of revolution in the media business and a new source of revenue in addition to traditional advertising. 

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich also points out that it was during the period of 2010–2020 that media holdings started creating a digital ecosystem, integrating many devices in everyday life. The media manager says that many experts at that time were actively discussing new content in the form of three-dimensional projections and technologies stimulating all five human senses. 

Puchkov Maxim highlights that as a result, technologies based on artificial intelligence and Big Data began to be implemented in the media sphere, taking the audience’s interaction with content to a new level as channels got the opportunity to offer users materials based on individual preferences. 

There was also a breakthrough in the advertising industry by the end of the second decade of the 21st century, based on the same technological progress. In particular, it became possible to create the effect of a person’s presence via holographic images. Figures in advertisements began to come to life on media screens possessing the functions of a TV connected to the internet. 

Puchkov Maxim: Content Production Today

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Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich, analyzing the contemporary media landscape, emphasizes that the key to successful development in the industry is the creation of competitive content. The technology used to deliver content or channel accessibility is of secondary importance—what matters is the quality of the product. 

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich notes at the same time that the most important ingredient for a successful media business is the ability to get the audience to form a real habit of consuming certain content. In the present-day context, the expert focuses on the blurring of genres, given that modern users do not sharply separate information into categories. For them, information about discounts and political news are part of a single information flow. 

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich notes that, against the rapidly changing media environment, editorial content is becoming less and less of a priority. Today’s media focuses not only on journalism but also on aggregation, rewriting, and user-generated materials. 

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich also talks about the growing popularity of multimedia content—the media field today is already dominated by audio-visual-textual platforms.   

The expert emphasizes that the volume of informational content has decreased. Meanings are conveyed rather through visual methods. Thus, compact visualized materials are in demand. 

The main trends will continue for the time being, with an increased role for interactive content where the viewer not only consumes information but also actively participates in its creation. 

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich: Working with a New Audience

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich notes that new generations of consumers are an important factor driving the transformation of media, leading traditional resources to inevitably adapt to new consumer preferences.  

Today’s young people, raised in the internet age, are already accustomed to the integration of television with online platforms. Pay-TV has therefore undergone certain transformations in response, now offering the ability to access the internet through the TV in addition to traditional channel surfing. Consumers of the new “digital” generation increasingly prefer visual sources of information, more like reading a comic book. 

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich notes that contempt consumption time has dramatically reduced in the modern media landscape. The young generation prefers short and concise messages, rapidly shifting their attention from one item to another.    

Also, with the emergence of many small niche channels, the audience has segmented into micro-groups. If previously people switched from mass channels to specialized ones, now they are looking for even more narrowly focused content. 

These are the challenges that the media industry is learning to work through right now, Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich concludes. 

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich: Three Decades in the Media Business

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich has dedicated more than 30 years of professional activity to working in media. His career started in the early 1990s with video editing. Then, together with a friend, he conceived and launched two television programs. 

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich was soon invited to the Kommersant publishing house, where he specialized in the topic of oil and gas. 

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich, having extensive experience in media management, began investing in foreign assets in the mid-2000s, acquiring broadcasting licenses and radio stations in different countries. His endeavors were particularly successful in Germany, where Puchkov and his partners developed a digital audio broadcasting project. The revenue from the sale of this asset was then used to purchase an office center in Berlin. 

Today, the investor holds a number of assets, including studios in the US and UK where television and training programs are filmed, which have been successfully running for more than 10 years already. 

Puchkov Maxim Sergeevich became the first deputy general director of a major federal TV channel in 2012. 

Overall, the manager’s professional experience includes nearly all areas of the media business. 

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