The ivi.ru website comprising hundreds of videos in Russian opened on Friday, providing Internet users with an opportunity to legally watch movies on-line free of charge.
More than 9,000 hours of video content, including full-length movies, TV series and shows, cartoons, BBC, MTV and World Fashion films can be found on the website, the Russian Vedomosti business daily said.
In exchange for the opportunity to watch movies for free, Internet users will have to watch advertisements included in the videos, with the income to be shared by website owners and copyright holders, the paper said.
Some 100 copyright holders signed the deal, it said.
Website owners believe their project will attract a large audience and many advertisers. Oleg Tumanov, the head of the Digital Access Holding selling video advertisements on the web, says the video advertising market would account for $10-12 million in 2010 and would develop rapidly.
He said ivi.ru was created as a Russian analogue of the U.S. video hosting Hulu.com, established in 2007.
The cost of the project is estimated at several million U.S. dollars, Tumanov added.
MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti)