Russian Video Service to Tackle Unreleased U.S. and European Movies

'The Truth About Emanuel'

ivi.ru expects a 15 percent increase in revenues from movies that weren't theatrically released in Russia

Russian video service ivi.ru will release prominent recent U.S. and European movies online that didn't get theatrical releases in Russia.

Francesca Gregorini's The Truth About Emanuel and Yaron Zilberman's A Late Quartet, starring Christopher Walken and Philip Seymour Hoffman, are among the first scheduled releases, the company said, adding that it expects the move to bring it a 15 percent increase in revenues.

With the likes of Hulu and Netflix not available in Russia, local audiences' choices on legitimate online video services have so far been mostly limited to Hollywood and local movies released theatrically or premiered on television.

ivi.ru said that in a situation when most theaters are only interested in top Hollywood releases -- DVD sales are declining and television networks are cutting down on obtaining new content -- offering film and TV content that otherwise is unavailable in Russia could become a promising direction for development of the online video service.

The list of titles scheduled to be released soon also includes the Italian movie Siberian Education, featuring John Malkovich, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist featuring Riz Ahmed and Kate Hudson.

Meanwhile, license fees for a prominent movie not released in Russian theaters could be in the range of $10,000 to $50,000.

The main part of the service's catalogue is available to users on an ad-sponsored model, while some films are offered at a fee of $2.1 (100 rubles).

Two years ago, ivi.ru struck major content licensing deals with 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures and NBC Universal.

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