Russian Social Networking Website VKontakte Launching a Video Service

Until now, video content has been generated by users, which has raised criticism from rights holders.

Russia’s largest social networking website VKontakte, a local equivalent of Facebook, is launching a legitimate video service that will operate on the same model as YouTube.

VKontakte, which for years has been considered to be the country’s biggest online pirate, has been talking about improving its image and replacing pirated content with legitimate music and videos for quite some time, but it has finally made steps in that direction.

Alexander Kruglov, head of VKontakte's customer department, was quoted by online news magazine RuNews24 saying that a model similar to YouTube will be used and that videos will be recommended to users based on their interests.

According to Kruglov, the service is to be monetized with InVideo ads and the company expects it to become an alternative to traditional TV content. VKontakte previously said it was looking for an editor-in-chief for its video service.

Unlike Facebook, VKontakte has My Music and My Videos sections, in which a user can save music tracks and videos uploaded by other users. While immensely popular with younger users, that option has enraged rights holders.

Although VKontakte has tools for removing illegitimate content, rights holders have complained that deleted films or music tracks would be uploaded again by other users.