MOSCOW Oct 22 Russian internet TV portal Tvigle
aims to raise more than $10 million and seek private equity
investment so it can grow its business as a legal alternative to
Russia became Europe's largest internet market by audience
in 2011 thanks to improved access to the web and has seen
explosive growth of online businesses. However, video
distribution has lagged due to competition from websites that
have free, illegally downloaded content.
The company's founder and chief executive Egor Yakovlev said
on Tuesday that Tvigle plans to attract private equity
investment next year and is currently talking to potential
backers which could include new as well as existing investors.
Tvigle's revenues come from advertising but it is also
developing a pay-per-view model, expected to gather ground
following the tightening of anti-piracy legislation last summer.
Tvigle, an online streaming service similar to U.S. firms
Hulu and Netflix, raised initial funding in its early
stages in 2007 from Allianz-Rosno Asset Management, part of
German insurance group Allianz, and a further round in
2011 from PromSvyazCapital, the investment arm of bankers Dmitry
and Alexey Ananiev.
The company has said that luring people away from internet
piracy is a top priority and key business opportunity for it.
Around a quarter of the company is owned by Allianz and a
third by Media3 - a holding structure of PromSvyazCapital.
Founder Yakovlev owns about a quarter, with the rest
distributed among the company's management.
According to East-West Digital News, Russia's digital
content market is worth around $1.4 billion, of which 97 percent
is games. Video accounts for just 2 percent due to the high
level of piracy, but its share is expected to grow along with
the legalisation of video content.