Fifteen years after launching as an independent production company in Ukraine, Star Media has evolved into an international media group, with a multichannel network on YouTube that’s made it the largest film and TV content aggregator in Russia and CIS.
Protecting content in the digital age, however, is an uphill battle, which is what prompted the company to launch the anti-piracy service ContentScan earlier this year.
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ContentScan is a fully automated service that uses machine learning to detect and remove pirated content wherever it appears online. The service works on YouTube and other VOD platforms, as well as live TV broadcasts, including sporting events, removing content worldwide at the request of rights holders.
Since its inception, ContentScan has blocked more than 14 million search result links to websites hosting pirated content on Yandex, the leading Russian search engine, and more than 13 million on Google. That effectiveness, says Star Media CEO Maria Grechishnikova, has had a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.
“As soon as we got ContentScan and started to protect our content…we saw up to 50% increase in all revenues gained from VOD,” says Grechishnikova, including both YouTube and other streaming platforms. “That was an amazing result, and we still see it. This piracy protection, together with our experience and work with YouTube, gives us the amazing results we have.”
MCN Star Media is currently home to more than 12,000 titles spread across a network of 65-plus channels. In total it has more than 24.5 million subscribers, with Star Media president Vlad Riashyn expressing hopes to grow that number to 40 million by year’s end. MCN Star Media content on YouTube has racked up more than 13 billion views, a number that Riashyn says is growing by an additional 570 million each month.
ContentScan has not only allowed Star Media to protect its own properties, but has benefited a host of rights holders, including partners such as leading Russian distributor Planeta Inform and production house Bazelevs, as well as the country’s largest broadcaster, All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company. The service has removed pirated links to popular Russian films and TV series such as “Six Degrees of Celegration,” “Calambur: The Fools’ Village,” “Comedy Club” and “Under Military Law” (pictured), as well as foreign series like “The Walking Dead.”
ContentScan recently became a member of FRAPA (the Format Recognition and Protection Association), a global organization seeking to create and enforce legal protection for television formats, and was awarded by the Russian Association of Film and Television Producers for its successful efforts to combat piracy.
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