Confirmation that Russian video service ivi.ru is taking a $40 million investment shows the Hulu-like company is building cash for content acquisition.
The investment advisory shop GP Bullhound’s recent 2012 Russia market report saidwas raising $30 million from Tiger Global and ru-net, in February. That this round has become larger, and joined by Baring Vostok in the lead, suggests investor confidence in prospects.
And why not? Russia is Europe’s largest internet audience, with 53 million users (comScore Media Metrix, 2012) – 37 percent on broadband, but up to 91 percent in Moscow. Only 26 percent of users have so far paid for online video (J’son & Partners Consulting).
“We will use this investment to broaden our content offering to our audience including new premier movies, series, TV shows and latest cartoons,”founder and CEO Oleg Tumanov says (via release).
Baring Vostok senior partner Elena Ivashentseva (via release):
Since, unlike Chinese counterparts Youku and Tudou, is not public, we have little site of its operating costs. As well as content licenses from the likes of Hollywood movie studios, Chinese video operators are also spending heavily on intelligent delivery to overcome poor consumer broadband infrastructure. Russian services are likely to need to spend here, too.