Russian video-on-demand service Stream.ru is looking at international expansion for the first time, as it also unveils plans to launch a subscription service for kids.
Stream.ru CEO Inna Shalyto told C21 the service aims to move into Ukraine and Belarus first, but is also considering smaller Russian-language markets in the Commonwealth of Independent States.
“As a company that partly belongs to MTS [Mobile TeleSystems], we are interested in countries where MTS is most powerful, because they have more possibility for promotion and product marketing,” she said.
MTS, one of the leading telecoms groups in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, owns a 45% stake in Stream.ru. Russian investment firm Sistema took a 55% share after investing RUB496.1m (US$15.5m) in the business in June.
Shalyto said she expects the VoD service to move into the new territories – its first expansion out of Russia – in mid to late 2013.
The CEO added that in the long term she aims to launch Russian-language Stream.ru services in markets such as Germany and the US, catering for the Russian ex-pat market. However, she said this was currently not possible, as content deals with the major studios are still negotiated on geographical, not a language basis.
In terms of content expansion, Stream.ru plans to launch a specialised kids’ service later this year. This will exist as a standalone app with its own user interface on selected connected devices, including iPhone and Android phones, and as a separate section of the Stream.ru website.
Currently, a limited selection of kids content is available on Stream.ru as part of a trial. However, it plans to add more content and already has deals in place with the likes of Disney and Russian animation studio Souyz Multifilm.
Looking at general movie and TV content, Stream.ru has deals in place with US studios 20th Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros and Miramax, as well as Russian content owners.