Russian Internet Giant Yandex Acquires Top KinoPoisk Movie Site – The Hollywood Reporter


MOSCOW – Russian internet giant Yandex has purchased the country’s most popular online movie site, KinoPoisk, for an undisclosed amount.

This decision resembles the business development model of Google and other popular global search engines it is modeled on.

KinoPoisk – known as “IMDb of Russia”, in reference to the popular field of online cinema in English – attracts around 18 million visitors per month.

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Like Google, Yandex is growing and plans to merge its technical capabilities with KinoPoisk – which stands for “movie search” – to create a video recommendation service, advice on where to watch movies locally, ticket purchase options and DVDs and other services using its extensive database. and sophisticated algorithms.

The Russian search giant is said to be in talks with all major Russian premium video-on-demand service providers to provide a one-stop-shop for paid downloads.

The move comes at a time when Russian law is finally starting to tackle Internet movie piracy and consumers are starting to demand higher quality downloads than those provided by illegal “torrent” sites.

KinoPoisk, established in 2003 primarily for the university student market in Russia, quickly became a staple for moviegoers and is now one of the most popular sites on the Internet in Russian, colloquially known as “RuNet”.

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Like IMDb, KinoPoisk is based on the aggregation of movie reviews, industry news, and user-generated comments. The site has over 100 million movie streams and new ones are added at the rate of three million per month.

In a statement published Tuesday on the site, the founders Vitaly Tatsiy, CEO of KinoPoisk, and Dmitry Sukhanov, its CTO, said Yandex was “an industry leader who shares our values ​​and our way of thinking.”

They promised fans of the site that the move marked “a new milestone in the life” of the site and that their “familiar and beloved KinoPoisk” would not disappear, but “would acquire new functions and features that we are sure you will find. will appreciate ”.

Terms of the deal have not been made public, but KinoPoisk is estimated to be worth around $ 50 million, a sum revealed earlier this year when the site’s main backer, AlloCine, sought to sell its 40 million stake. % in the business.

Dmitry Stepanov, a spokesperson for Yandex, said in a statement that the internet is increasingly the place where consumers turn for advice on which movies and TV shows to watch.

“In order to provide high quality answers, we need to have a thorough knowledge of the subject,” Stepanov added.

“KinoPoisk has a huge collection of information in Russian on films, series, actors and directors, as well as user and expert reviews accumulated over many years.”

The site could retain its unique identity for a while, but industry watchers in Moscow said on Tuesday that it was likely its operations team, and possibly the site itself, would eventually be integrated into Yandex.

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