Russia's Yandex launches video service aimed at rivaling YouTube

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Russian internet group Yandex is pictured at the company's headquarter in Moscow, Russia October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov/File Photo

(Reuters) - Russian internet giant Yandex is launching a video streaming service aimed at rivaling Google’s YouTube that will allow users to publish videos on its personal recommendation platform Yandex Zen, the company said on Friday.

Tech giants such as Facebook and YouTube have been adding features to their video streaming services as the demand for online video traffic grows.

In its latest move, Yandex is following in the footsteps of China’s Toutiao, a core product of Beijing-based company ByteDance. Toutiao has a video channel where bloggers can upload content and an algorithm recommends it to users.

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

During testing of the new service, the popularity of video products has already outstripped other content. Yandex Zen recorded a total of 20 million video views per day, while the daily audience was 11 million users.

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.

Reporting by Nadezhda Tsydenova; Writing by Anna Rzhevkina; Editing by Mark Potter