top of page

Yehor Yarotskyi

Chief Product Officer

"On the very first day, we opened access to free-to-air television so that people could receive up-to-date information.Later, together with the "Diya" team, we developed "Diya TV", which allows you to watch TV channels directly from your smartphone and even in the absence of a TV signal."

My name is Yehor Yarotsky and I work as the Chief Product Officer of the MEGOGO company.
Our multimedia service started its work 11 years ago.Today, MEGOGO is a multimedia platform that combines a classic online cinema, the services of a virtual Pay TV provider, creates sports content and is its exclusive distributor.
We also integrate UGC (user-generated content) content, work with audio products, create and distribute audio books and podcasts, coordinate production with our own MEGOGO Voice voiceover studio.In addition, we provide services for the B2B market: outsourcing, white label development, projects, etc.
The MEGOGO media service operates on all possible monetization models: subscription content, ad-supported content, one-to-one sales, and free content.More specifically, it's SVOD, AVOD, FVOD and TVOD all in one place.

MEGOGOinternational media service founded in 2011 in Ukraine. The platform has more than 200,000 hours of content for every taste. Cooperates both with large factories of mass film production and with small studios of original and alternative cinema. Partners include FOX, BBC, Sony, Walt Disney, Universal, Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures and others. And MEGOGO exclusively broadcasts UEFA Champions League matches, European Cups and top sports events, including boxing from Top Rank.

In the MEGOGO catalog, movies are available in UHD, HDR and 4K quality, and among the available languages ​​for viewing: Ukrainian, English, Azerbaijani, Lithuanian, Kazakh, Estonian, Georgian and others. The media service also works to make content accessible to all users, so it regularly increases the catalog of films in sign language and with audio description. MEGOGO changes the habits of users about modern content consumption: television with interactive functions, high-quality movies and cartoons, a content recommendation system based on preferences, its own thematic interactive channels, a separate section with games on Smart TV, thousands of audiobooks and podcasts.

The situation with the company before the war. How would the participant himself describe the state of the field and the company before the war?

For the company, this period was accompanied by very active development in all directions. Over the past 10 years, the attitude of society regarding the purchase, sale and development of legal content has changed dramatically. This was our peak. We grew and our audience grew.

Was the company preparing for a possible war? How exactly?

I will say frankly, we did not prepare, because no one believed in a full-scale war at all. We did not move or take people abroad. Common considerations were reduced to the fact that escalation can occur in the temporarily occupied territories. No one anticipated a full-scale aggression on the entire territory of Ukraine. During the period when the whole world stopped due to Covid-19, we switched to remote, then semi-remote. Therefore, when the war began, we were already partially ready for the hybrid scheme of work in which we live now.

What business and team (personnel) decisions did the company make in the first hours and first weeks of the war?

The basis for us was the safety of people and their relatives. When news of shelling began to appear at 4-5 in the morning, we instructed everyone to take care of personal safety and maintain constant contact with line managers. Employees were paid a month's salary in advance. In the early days, we only had critical services that supported the service. Since MEGOGO is the largest OTT service in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, which also serves as a tool for delivering information, it was important to maintain the infrastructure and protect against DDoS attacks. Of course, one of the first steps was that we stopped any cooperation with the aggressor country and removed all Russian content from the platform.

On the very first day, we opened access to free-to-air television so that people could receive up-to-date information. Later, together with the Diya team, we developed Diya TV, which allows you to watch TV channels directly from your smartphone, even in the absence of a TV signal. For children and teenagers, we have renewed the materials of the online school, which was launched at the height of Covid-19. And together with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and UNICEF, they organized an online school and an online NUMO kindergarten with developmental classes for children aged 3-6.

How did the company's product change or adapt because of the war?

In the first weeks of the full-scale attack, we agreed with rights holders to open content on our platform free of charge in the territories of those countries where refugees have gone en masse. Ukrainian TV channels were broadcast to the whole world in free access, so that abroad could see what is happening in our country and receive only true news. Later, thanks to the agreement with the rights holders, we opened free viewing of football matches to give Ukrainians the opportunity to distract themselves, to breathe at least for a few hours. We have changed the company's policy regarding refunds for services. In Ukraine, we return money without additional conditions and considerations.

Regarding content: until now, many nationwide TV channels are freely available on our service, but we had to return part of the content to paid monetization models. We, like any business, have to pay salaries, taxes and support the Ukrainian economy. After all, profits have decreased significantly. Predictably, the advertising market of Ukraine suffered a lot at the beginning of the full-scale war. Everyone stopped making money from advertising altogether. Only now are we witnessing its recovery. In the early days, we had a lot of advertising material left over, which we immediately sent to charitable foundations or directly to the Armed Forces.

What has changed in approaches to company management because of the war?(eg planning horizon, planning approaches, management methods and tools, etc.)?

We solved the issue of company management even during Covid-19. All processes were configured in such a way that employees did not have to be physically in the office. The priority goal for us as managers was to keep the team. That is why we did not have cuts and hard moves that could significantly worsen the condition of the team. There was more internal communication, especially in the first days of the war: “how are you?”, “where are you?”, “what are you doing?”.

We kept a table that contained information about each person in the company to understand where they are and if they need help. We stopped all our planning for 2 months. They worked only on what was critical, and people used the rest of the time to ensure their own security, to help Ukraine and the Armed Forces. Someone went to the TRO, someone to volunteer. Previously, the product planning horizon in our company was 3-5 years. In fact, this deadline remained, but there were changes in priority.

That is, we first of all start doing tasks that will allow us to get more profit in the short term. Such as, for example, the MEGOGO outsourcing project launched by us, which includes consulting other companies. Our company's specialists have many unique competencies that are lacking even in the global market, so we partially started using our resources in this direction as well. In the next year and a half, we plan to enter new markets, in particular Poland, to create additional functions that will allow us to get more income, and, of course, to control what affects the quality of the service as such.

What are the main lessons you learned as a manager through the war

You know there is such a good book "Black Swan" (author Nassim Nicholas Taleb). There is a term "antifragility" in it. For me personally, this is proof that it is necessary to create such companies and projects that will survive even in a total war, enable people to earn and support their country. Everything in life can happen - from the fall of an asteroid to the appearance of aliens. It is impossible to take everything into account, but it is necessary to build such systems and projects that will withstand strong "turbulence". And it's not just about business. It is also about family relations, friendship, work, hobbies. All this must be strong and able to survive the most terrible tests. For us, this war was like the arrival of an asteroid. A turning point in everyone's life. Where you have to adapt to survive.

The personal support and connection that has been built within the company is very important when the transition to remote occurs. I saw for myself that when people don't care what they do, and they care about each other, including colleagues, your business will survive. Apparently, there are still cases in our country when people dropped everything and went about their business. This should not be the case in your business, in your relationship. May your life always have a core to lean on.


bottom of page