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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

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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