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Paving the Way for Russian Online Video Market

Published: January 31, 2014 (Issue # 1795)



  • Hit U.S. TV show like the AMC series “Breaking Bad” can now be streamed online on Russian video sites.
    Photo: AMC

While online video streaming in the U.S. has shown that the Internet can be effectively monetized by film and television, the fear of piracy in Russia has limited the spread of such services here.

Only now, a few companies are taking the plunge and offering online streaming services, and The St. Petersburg Times spoke to three of them to get a sense of the online video market in Russia today.

The first online cinema in Russia

Ivi.ru is considered to be the first Russian online cinema — and is the most popular. Founded in 2010, it has reached 30 million unique users with 200 million views per month in only four years. The catalogue consists of more than 70,000 videos, and the Ivi app on Smart TV is one of the most popular for Samsung, Philips and LG televisions around the world.

Related: Anti-Piracy Law Is Good, Tech Makes It Better

Not long ago, ivi.ru was in the middle of scandal between Cinema Park and Karo Prokat. Ivi started showing the Russian film "Geograf Globus Propil" at the same time as theater chains, and Cinema Park and Karo Prokat demanded that distributor "Nash Kino" take the film version off the web.

While Ivi was not breaking the law, they decided not to show the movie on the website in order to avoid confrontation and legal battles with big companies.

The founders of Ivi wanted to create the first legal online cinema with a commercial business model, and hoped to become a giant in Russia's burgeoning online video market.

The main rivals for Ivi are pirates, which is one of the reasons why the company decided to work with an advertising video on demand, or AVOD, business model. People can watch 97 percent of the site's content for free, while another 3 percent is in a premium-class package that users must pay for, either by subscription or for a single movie, but there is no advertising. The price is 299 rubles ($8.64) for a month's subscription or from 99 to 249 rubles per film.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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