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    HomeRussia“Rutube is still incomparable with YouTube” // Head of Rutube Alexander Moiseev...

    “Rutube is still incomparable with YouTube” // Head of Rutube Alexander Moiseev about new opportunities and limitations

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    Most Russian Internet services benefited in one way or another from the blocking of international competitors, the scale of which intensified after the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, and their own decisions to restrict work in the Russian Federation. Rutube, owned by Gazprom Media Holding, is one of the few domestic resources coexisting with the still most popular YouTube video hosting from Google. Rutube CEO Alexander Moiseev spoke about the difference in goals with YouTube, moderation and “zeroing” the history of the service.

    — Rutube announced restart in April, the day after a letter from the Ministry of Education and Science about the need to transfer videos from YouTube appeared in the public field. By that time, the topic of blocking YouTube in Russia had already been discussed for a month, which in the end did not happen. Then there was a lot of talk about Russian counterparts and replacements for Western services. How did the situation affect the image and audience of Rutube?

    — I think it should be noted first of all that the reboot of Rutube and the events around YouTube are two parallel, unrelated processes . Rumors about YouTube have different bases in different cases, and I think that monetization shutdown in Russia in general caused a stir. And when people hear that the main site in terms of traffic will be blocked, they, of course, try to switch to others.

    Does blocking YouTube in some form or removing monetization help Rutube traffic ? The answer is very ambiguous. Those who watch YouTube in Russia suddenly have “premium” accounts, because if there is no monetization for authors on it, then there are no ads for viewers.

    Of course, at this point, YouTube is convenient for the viewer.

    — Rutube plans to introduce a subscription without ads and with revenue sharing with authors?

    — It will be in the future, but now we are solving more pressing issues and tasks. It must be understood that YouTube is an international platform with a multibillion-dollar user base, which systematically provides other technological advantages than Rutube. They work with a different array of data and with a different number of users, therefore, different advertising mechanics operate. We need to compete on the basis that we can be much more local. We can be closer to the user and offer benefits that no transnational fund that does not understand local specifics will give.

    We want to turn Rutube into a platform like a social elevator. Let’s say you’re a creative person, come, post a video, start earning. Watch more, earn more. And since the platform is part of a large media holding, there is an opportunity for further promotion. For example, you will be provided with production for filming a project, and you can also get into the film – such a platform as a starting springboard has more prospects. Local, of course.

    — But it turns out that the needs of viewers who want to watch content from other cultures and other countries, or those who want to upload videos with designed for an international audience.

    — Any platform, any application or solution always has a certain focus. In the case of YouTube, the initial focus was on the English-speaking audience. The focus of Rutube is the Russian-speaking audience. And I think that, from her point of view, we will overcome the amount of content of other platforms very soon. There are many people in the world who speak Russian, and this is actually a large community that also wants to offer interesting content. When we achieve perfection in this, then, of course, we will go further.

    (August 16, after “Kommersant” interviewed, Rutube made the iOS application unavailable in the App Store for

    — And if we do not consider the possibility of promotion within the holding? Let’s say I’m a company or institution, I have an audience, a need to upload videos, and a desire to be watched. If you look at Rutube as a classic video hosting, what can it offer me that I won’t find on YouTube or VK Video?

    — Everything is very good on Rutube fast: in two clicks we got a channel and posted a video on it. Everything is clear, everything is available, the video works stably, we have reduced the moderation time to a few minutes. But you need to understand that videos that have been assigned certain markers during the auto-moderation process are subject to manual moderation.

    — Can you give examples?

    — Certain things are prohibited by the law of the Russian Federation. We have described everything that is possible and what is not, and compliance is very easy to check. But there are specific cases – I even conducted an experiment to test them. For example, if you upload a video of fireworks, the entire audio track will consist of explosions, pops, whatever. If the moderator watches live, he will understand that there are fireworks on the video and there is nothing forbidden in them. And for machine learning, it is still difficult to understand the difference.

    — Are certain words included in the system?

    There are a lot of things there. The algorithm is constantly changing, but we also have a large group of moderators. In February-March, there was a problem associated with the influx of bloggers whose video archives were removed by YouTube or who were afraid of their removal. The problem was mainly not that a lot of users came – here, on the contrary, the more the better – but that there were a lot of videos in the moderation queue.

    Important understand that among all the videos that are subject to moderation, there is a certain percentage of those that do not pass it, that is, they actually violate the legislation of the Russian Federation.

    —On YouTube, people are free to post content that you expressly forbid, under their sole responsibility. And their videos are popular, “flowing” beyond the site: for example, I can hear that a new interview with Yuri Dud (announced in the Russian Federation as a foreign agent) has come out without even going to YouTube. Don’t you see this as a problem for Rutube’s growth?

    But if we look at the longer term, it turns out that it is actually important to be honest with the audience and give it reliable content.

    The legislation of the Russian Federation was invented not because people need to do something. There are rules. We are a Russian company, we live in Russia, we like everything. We want and will comply with the requirements of the law. Will it ever limit us? I will ask another question: if you drive through the city at a speed of 180 km / h, will you arrive home faster than if you do not violate the rules and signs? Faster. It’s just not a fact that you will get there.

    — Usually, duplication of content from a more popular site to a less popular one creates questions for the latter that need to be addressed. For example, Instagram (Meta’s activity on the work of the social network is declared extremist in Russia and banned) announced that it would downgrade videos re-uploaded from TikTok in the search results. Does Rutube intend to downgrade or not promote copies of YouTube videos in this way?

    — We do not underestimate or remove anything. The user’s library is his library, and he is free to do what he wants with it. If you feel more comfortable on Rutube, please transfer video. Why should I underestimate you somehow? But if you play ads for your neighbors in big letters on our site, we will probably ask you to pay for it somehow. or tools for managing multiple accounts?

    — Sub-accounting will appear, I think, before the end of the year. In September there will be a big update regarding the user’s personal account and statistics. But sub-accounting will appear not in the September update package, but a little later.

    — Is it planned to launch an analogue of Content ID for monetization in favor of the copyright holder? Will Russian and foreign copyright holders have equal rights in this case?

    — The Roadmap for the next year does not imply the appearance of such a function.

    — Will there be a public counter of views and likes?

    — Will be. More precisely, it already is, but we turned it off purposefully. Here is a story: remember, there was LiveJournal? He is still there, but faded into the background in terms of numbers. There were thousands of bloggers in LiveJournal, and the coolest one, whose name I don’t remember now, had 63 thousand subscribers. And now we are competing, who has a million views, and who has dozens. We are accustomed to seeing these huge numbers.

    Rutube is not yet comparable to YouTube. “Incomparable” is the wrong word: it’s smaller. Not so much less that we can talk about dramatic numbers, but in terms of monetization of successful channels – four times. And there is a chance to frighten off the user, because viewers have formed a habit on YouTube: they come, scroll through the video, find something that has gained millions of views, and decide to watch it. Let’s make sure that the determining factor was not a large number of video views, but the quality of the content.

    — Don’t you think that people are already comparing similar metrics to a lesser extent from different platforms than before? The same million views on YouTube is not equal to a million views on TikTok.

    — We talk like people who operate with metrics. The user in most cases does not have the opportunity to compare. He can see the counter and calculate for himself: “Here is a millionth indicator, but this one is multimillionth, so it’s more interesting there.” We want to determine exactly what attracts people in the picture, how to interest the viewer. I really would not want the counter to work now. But there is a counter for the video creator.

    —VK in one of the recent presentations showed how they applied machine learning to generate video covers and increased conversion. VK Video gives different covers to different users, taking into account socio-demographic parameters. Are you developing something similar?

    — We launched machine learning. It will work in a recommender system, that is, suggest users to watch relevant videos based on their experience, on the content that they have watched before. While it takes time for the program to learn. In terms of video tagging, we finished re-tagging the entire video archive after the crash in May.

    — Rutube suffered a massive hacker attack on May 9th, as a result of which the service was no longer available. days. Can we say that it delayed the development of the service?

    — Yes and no. Some things have slowed down a lot because we spent almost a month getting everything back to normal. We had to check all the service components for bookmarks left by the attackers, clean them up and restart everything again.

    On the other hand, since we completely restarted the user and video bundle database, this allowed to re-partition the entire archive. This, in turn, helped launch much faster searches and machine learning. In normal mode, we would have to spend twice as much time on this or interrupt the service, which is impossible. do?

    — Yes, they took advantage of the situation in the interests of the platform.

    — Is it planned to introduce stricter ranking of videos by age category, with a separate application like “YouTube for Kids”?

    — We already have a children’s section on the site and the Rutube. App Store (launched in 2014, has not been updated since 2021, there is no Android version.— “b”), but we are redesigning it. There is also ranking, but now we are talking more about subaccounting, the possibility of introducing additional time access accounting. This is a technical problem, and I hope that this year we will also solve it.

    There are not so many companies that have made normal applications with children’s subaccounting, as well as good applications. Kids today are smarter than their parents when it comes to using gadgets, so protecting kids online is not an easy task in terms of user experience. It either won’t work properly, or it will be too abstruse for the parents. If children are forbidden something outright, no one will like it.

    — How would you rate Rutube’s financial performance? Ruform LLC has been unprofitable for the last three years, and in 2021 the net loss amounted to 2.7 billion rubles.

    — It is too early to talk about the first global results. We count our history from the end of 2020, when Gazprom-Media Holding consolidated this asset (Rutube was launched in 2006, Gazprom-Media acquired control in it in 2008, consolidated 100% in December 2020).— “Ъ”). There is a lot of work to be done, I consider it incorrect to comment on the results of previous teams.

    Our task is to represent the video segment in Russia. This is a large-scale systematic work, which includes product improvement, a variety of content offerings, and the issue of cybersecurity. I’m sure that after going through all the stages of modernization, we will be able to announce a positive financial trend.

    — Is cooperation within Gazprom Media between Rutube and the Audioclub service planned?

    — We have a single Gazprom ID login, which allows you to seamlessly switch between all sites while maintaining the user’s interests.

    — What about a closer integration of the video and audio platform along the lines of YouTube and YouTube Music?

    — Honestly, we want to agree so that we have a single base of audio. Now we are posting some part of the audio on Rutube, but taking into account the position of the majors, this is not easy.

    — After YouTube left Russia, some key personnel entered the labor market, for development in the region — in particular, Andrey Stebunov, head of music promotion, ended up in VK. Did you intercept the released specialists?

    — By the time we approved the roadmap, the Rutube team had already “settled down”. We have had some changes, but in general they are minor. We understand how to move towards the goal together, we know how to work hand in hand and understand each other.

    — After moving to a new office, where all the digital assets of Gazprom-Media are now located, Rutube hires a lot of people – both in development and in infrastructure. The team is growing and expanding. We recruited a lot of very cool guys from the media, artistic world.

    — I understand correctly that the task of hiring people, leaving YouTube, and did not stand?

    – No – why? We realized for ourselves that we are different. We do not create a clone or copy of YouTube. We know our advantages and resource zones, we know what we can do better and what we want to develop and improve in.

    Born on April 28, 1980 in Moscow. In 2002 he graduated from the Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics of Moscow State University. From 2001 to 2006, he worked in various telecom companies.

    In 2006, he joined Kaspersky Lab, developing business in Italy and Israel. In 2013, he became Managing Director of the company in Europe, in 2016 – Director of Sales in the global market.

    In November, he was appointed Deputy General Director. In this position, he was involved in building a digital asset management structure, accelerating the digital transformation of the holding. Since February 2022, he has been the CEO of Rutube.

    Professional in motorsport, specializing in endurance racing and sports car racing. Participated in such competitions as Ferrari Challenge Europe, Blancpain Endurance Series, 6 Hours of Rome, International GT Open, Italian GT Championship.

    The Russian online service for hosting and watching videos was launched in 2006 by entrepreneurs from Orel, Oleg Volobuev and Mikhail Paulkin. In 2008, the Gazprom-Media holding acquired a controlling stake in the company, valuing it at $15 million. In 2016, Rutube was merged with Pladform, a legal content distribution network, as a result of which Ruform was created. Ruform’s assets at that time were owned by Gazprom-Media (33.3%) and Pladform (66.7%). In 2020, the Gazprom-Media holding became the owner of 100% of Ruform LLC. Since the end of 2019, Rutube has started working on the basis of the List platform, which provides free access to content, provided that the user has watched the ad and answered questions. In April 2021, a complete redesign of the video hosting was carried out. Watching videos without registration, creating thematic playlists, monetizing content, and other functions have also become available. In March 2022, the number of unique users of the service exceeded 21 million

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