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VK is planning to show the World Cup

0 10 June 2014

Russian social network VK.com is planning to show World Cup matches live on its site and is in negotiations with broadcasting rights holder VGTRK (which operates Russia 1 and Russia 2). VGTRK is interested in the growth of online audiences, and intends to show its own adverts to social network users viewing the games. 

In order to show the games, VK plans to use sportbox.ru’s video player. Deputy general director of VGTRK, Dmitri Mednikov, confirmed that the idea of showing games live on VK.com via the Sportbox video player was being discussed. 

According to Mednikov the rights issues are yet to be resolved, and there are no guarantees that this will be done in time for the World Cup. He added that no money will change hands as the partnership will be mutually beneficial: VGTRK will gain a larger audience for its advertising and VKontakte will gain the right to show content for which there is a very high demand.  

According to VK's CEO Dmitri Sergeev a strategic partnership with VGTRK has already been agreed on. He believes that for the social network the joint project will make “coverage of major sporting events a reality”. 

The social network plans to offer comprehensive coverage, with Sergeev adding that “if the rights issues are sorted out then we will offer live-streaming of every World Cup game.”

VK.com is generally considered the second biggest online video resource in Russia, after YouTube. However, the company does not publish its own figures with regards to the number of videos watched on the social network. Its popularity relies to a large degree on its huge database of films and music content, but the questionable legal status of this material has brought the company into frequent disputes with copyright holders. 

According to the founder of LiveInternet, German Klimenko, the partnership with VGTRK, as with any collaboration with a major rights holder, should have a positive impact on the reputation of the company. Klimenko asserts that “the World Cup is a huge event in the sporting world, and will draw much attention to the site. If VKontakte manages to resolve all of the legal issues in the next two weeks, then it will reap huge benefits.”

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