Yandex Aims to Rival YouTube with New Video Platform

Yandex said on Friday it is launching a user-driven video service it hopes will rival YouTube in Russia, Reuters reported.

The platform comes through its Yandex Zen recommendation service, with an approach similar to ByteDance’s Toutiao, where bloggers upload content and an algorithm recommends it to users.

“For many Russian bloggers, Zen has become the main text platform. We are glad that Zen algorithms help writing authors find their audience, but we don’t want to stop there,” said Yandex.Zen CEO Dmitry Ivanov.

Testing of the new service has taken off, with Yandex Zen hitting 20 million video views a day with a daily audience of 11 million users. Still, Russia’s internet giant is third place in Russian video views behind YouTube and social network VKontakte.

Yandex Zen, which selects content based on user preferences, will allow bloggers to publish up to 15-minute-long videos.

More than half of all Russians watch video content through Yandex’s search engine, but it’s still in third place after the largest video streaming website YouTube and the country’s biggest social network VKontakte, according to a recent survey by Deloitte.

In August, the monthly audience for Yandex Zen was nearly 50 million people.