Leading Social Networks Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki Introduce Free Legal Video Offer

A legal, ad-funded movie offer is now available on Vkontakte (VK.com), Russia’s leading social network, reported news agency RIA Novosti last week. Star Media, a major Russian producer and distributor, is among the first copyright holders to have worked with Vkontakte to make its movies available on the network.

In 2013, after years of laisser-faire, Vkontakte started cleaning up its huge user-generated video catalog to remove pirated video content. The  network’s carried out the cleanup under the combined pressure of copyright holders and its new shareholder UCP.

Last year was also marked by the adoption of a strict anti-piracy legislation.

Last month another leading social network, Odnoklassniki.ru, also launched a legal, ad-funded video offer in addition to its existing user-generated content.

Odnoklassniki.ru claimed 64 million daily video views as of December 2013, up 190% in one year, RIA Novosti reported.

While the paid model for content has not been very successful in Russia thus far, large amounts of content are available for free on ad-funded sites, putting aside resources with pirated content. In this context, the advertising model dominates the VOD market. It is the core revenue source for five top market players (Tvigle, Videomore, Molodejj.tv, Zoomby, ivi), East-West Digital News noted in a recent study.

Online video advertising, whose volumes were barely noticeable just a few years ago, has just started to emerge in Russia. Spending, which reached $52 million in 2012, is expected to grow by about 60% yearly in 2013-2015.

This article originally appeared on East West Digital News on January 21, 2014.