A Quarter of Russian Users Pay for Online Video Content

The share of legitimate video services is on the rise.

TALLINN – Contrary to a popular belief that Russia’s online video market is completely pirated and rights holders have no chance of cashing in on it, a recent research said that more than a quarter of Russian internet users have paid for video services, while the online video market’s value could reach $40 million by 2016.

The number of people watching video online in Russia has reached 41 million people, which puts the country ahead of Great Britain (34 million) and France (40 million), according to a research by the Moscow-based consultancy J’son & Partners Consulting.

And although the majority of users still prefer to watch movies and videos for free, the proportion of those who have paid for online video content has reached 26 percent. “We expect a substantial growth of the paid online video service market, which by conservative estimates is likely to grow from $1.7 million in 2011 to more than $40 million in 2016,” reads the research.

Currently, the majority of the users watch non-professional or pirated content on resources like Youtube, Rutube, Smotri, Video.yandex, Video.mail and Vkontakte, but the share of legitimate online video services, such as Tvigle, Ivi, Zoomby and Videomore has been on the rise.

As a result, advertisers have become more interested. According to J’son & Partners Consulting, the Russian market of online video ads is set to grow from $18 million in 2010 to $36 million in 2011 and to $280 million by 2016.

The most popular models used by the legitimate online video services are ad-sponsored (used by Tvigle, Ivi and Zoomby), subscription (Now) and pay-per-download (Omlet).