Paving the Way for Russian Online Video Market
Published: January 31, 2014 (Issue # 1795)
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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