Amazon to Launch Online Video Service in Russia (Report)

The online giant has filed an application with the country's patent office to register its instant video brand.

MOSCOW -- Amazon has filed an application to register its brand Amazon Instant Video with the Russian patent office and requested priority consideration of the application, the local wire service RIA Novosti reported.

Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Hollywood Reporter.

The company doesn’t operate in Russia, but last April, Amazon said it was going to open a Russian office. Contrary to original expectations that the international online giant was going to launch a full-scale operation in the Russian market, Amazon said it was only going to sell e-books and Kindle readers in Russia. So far, sales have not been initiated yet.

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The Russian market of online video services is developing rapidly, and a recently adopted anti-piracy law, although criticized by some industry players, is expected to give it a boost.

The main local legitimate online video services are IVI, Stream and Tvigle. IVI has agreements with Warner, Paramount, Fox, Sony, NBC Universal, Disney, BBC, National Geographic and major local companies and offers most of its 65,000 items from its catalogue for free, with ads shown. A premium subscription, which allows users to watch films without ads costs 299 rubles ($9) a month. Streaming offers a free catalogue, subscriptions and VoD services. Tvigle operates on an ad-sponsored model.

Netflix isn’t available in Russia, but some people are able to use it with add-ons like Media Hint and other means allowing them to hide their actual location.