Marija Bahri is the Director of Business development in Direct Media, the company that is standing behind the project Super Serbia.
Partners on this unique project are companies RODA and TV PRVA who gathered along with the participants to turn attention to local entrepreneurship and bring forth some beautiful personal stories of struggle, devotion, hard work and hope that their product will achieve great success.
The first question that will interest people is how the project „Super Serbia” came about?
This project actually came about three years ago in Slovenia. It was created by our company Direct Media along with Formitas agency. In Slovenia, the project bears the name „Štartaj Slovenia” and is currently enjoying amazing success because the public recognized the positive note that is at the base of this entire project. They supported the small business owners in their fight for success and continued to support those that were in the first season as well as those who are now participating in the third season by purchasing their products. The project is set up in such a way that Direct Media and RODA as well as TV Prva combine their resources and know-how in order to turn attention to local entrepreneurs and give them support through the actual show, promotional campaign and sales space in Roda markets.
This is not the only project in which you are involved as a producer. What does content mean to you in your line of work?
Content really is everything. I have said this many times before but without quality content you cannot have a leading position on the market. We are not producers in all deals that we make. Working with FIBA and UEFA, when we are talking about sports, is a classic acquisition of sports rights type of deal. Direct Media has been investing in local production for many years and we have successfully worked with the biggest production companies when local production is in question. Our series, “My father’s killers”, “Shadows over the Balkans”, “Hilmija Inn” and a new series by Dragan Bjelogrlic “Branded in the painted area” are the most popular series on this territory. For us, the rule remains that content is the kingdom so we are always in search for new ideas, new concepts and new stories that deserve to be on the small screens. Project “Super Serbia” is different for us because we are the creators and the stakeholders of this entire story while we are “just” producers in other series – meaning that we do not interfere in the creative part.
If you say that you are always looking for new ideas, what is different in this reality program “Super Serbia” from the rest and what makes it unique?
This project has a very strong competition component but there are no losers in the end. The entire concept has been thought out such that the contestants are not competition to each other but rather are fighting to achieve the best sales results and gain the coveted contract with Roda retail chain who is our partner on this project. By gaining the contract, the entrepreneurs are launched into mid-size businesses with the opportunity to become big one day in the future. Even those contestants who will not get the contract will not be losers in the end. They have been taught a lot because experts at Direct Media were available to them for everything that has anything to do with their brand identity, social media, promotion where as the Roda retail experts were available to raise the quality of their product and provide them with sales space in their stores and access to thousands of new clients. Finally, Prva TV provided them with a great promotional campaign. In entrepreneurship, it is key to listen to the market or rather – your audience. If they do not get the contract in the end, they should think whether their product is for retail markets, whether they should improve it in some way or try new sales channels. In any case, everyone who is a part of “Super Serbia” will come out of this a better entrepreneur, and that is the goal.
What are the reactions, so far, to this project?
So far, the reactions are great. People always like to see who is standing behind a product, to meet the makers. We put in a lot of effort to create a diverse offer so we are proud to present „ajvar” and „flat pepper” salad from Lebane, hard royal cheese made by an old Serbian method from Smederevo, accessories for all dog sizes designed in Belgrade, honey with various flavours from Pazova, kid’s game from Belgrade, craft beer from Novi Sad, natural deodorants from Fruška Gora and fatal spices from Obrenovac. Our contestants represent thousands of hard working people in Serbia who are entrepreneurs and who fight every day for their product to come to its audience with the hope that they will gain loyal customers. We made that road easier through this project but the biggest part of work is on the entrepreneurs themselves.