Russia's ivi adds personalised TV to VOD offering

Monday, May 25th, 2015 
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Ivi Launches First-of-its-Kind Personalized TV Deeply Integrated in VOD Service

MOSCOW, Russia — ivi, the biggest legal VOD service in Russia, has announced the launch of ivi tv – a first-of-its-kind personalized TV service based on and deeply integrated into its VOD platform. The simplicity of traditional TV finally comes together with the innovative opportunities offered by VOD, such as recommendation algorithms, a massive content catalogue, and the option to choose what to watch and when.

The service is built around the idea of combining traditional TV with a recommendation system, developed by ivi after years of studying users’ preferences. Oleg Tumanov, the founder and CEO of ivi, says: “TV hasn’t undergone any fundamental changes in the last 50 years. And it has been doing exactly the same thing: broadcasting content to clients, not asking for any feedback from its users or providing any option to manage your own video stream. Meanwhile, VOD services emerging in the last 10 years have decided to do something completely different, and ignore the simplicity and comfort of good old traditional TV. We decided to bring together the vast functionality of VOD and the easiness of traditional TV to provide a very effective solution for our users who at some point don’t want to make a choice: they just want to turn on and watch. This is a pretty simple idea, but this being television created for people of the digital era, it therefore has some undeniable advantages that are technologically beyond the capabilities of traditional broadcasting. No doubt TV will go through a major transformation globally during the next decade, and ivi – by launching its personalized TV service – possibly shows one way in which it will develop.”

ivi tv

There are several channels on ivi tv that are aggregated through a recommendations system for each individual user; they are updated on a daily basis, depending on the history of previously watched movies and programs. In addition to these personalized channels, ivi tv offers more than 40 genre channels that include more than 25,000 units of content, as well as special channels made by ivi tv’s team of editors and include the best video content from the whole ivi library. The number of available channels will be substantially increased in the near future.

As well as the standard TV routines such as switching channels via remote control, ivi tv offers various options to manage your video stream: rewinding, going to the start, pausing, etc. Users can switch not only from one channel to another, but also from one piece of content to another inside one channel while trying to decide between things to watch (for example, jumping from one episode to another while watching a series). The service was launched earlier this month on the LG SMART TV platform and is now also available on Samsung. It will expand to other platforms within the next few months.

Ivi always offers technological innovations to its users and has developed several other projects beside ivi tv, such as ivi.ru online cinema, personal music video channel service music.ivi, and deti.ivi, a video service for children.

The major factors of the company’s success have been: implementing technological innovations; improving service; developing cross-platform access to video, and applying new advertising formats. With the audience showing a steady growth, ivi managed to build an effective model of mixed monetization of online content in three formats (TVOD, SVOD, AVOD) and hit the breakeven last year – making it the first VOD service in Russia to achieve that.

In 2014 the company’s revenue jumped up to 54% against 2013 and reached 728 million rubles. The company’s share in the total revenue of OTT players reached 28% (data by TMT Consulting). In 2014 the gross quantity of video views on ivi platforms was near 2.2 billion (390 million hours). The audience of paid services reached 500,000 people; meanwhile the aggregate audience of all services exceeded 25 million people.