Alexander Zharov, CEO of Gazprom-Media, who oversees the development of RuTube and earned about 300 million rubles from it in 2020 alone, admitted that RuTube will not be able to replace YouTube. He spoke about the advantages of American video hosting in an interview with RBC.
When asked whether he considers it necessary to block YouTube in Russia and whether there are advantages for RuТube in this, Zharov replied that if the platform continues to violate Russian law, then this option “is worth considering.” However, he then added that the "global search engine" is better, and explained why.
“But RuTube is not a replacement for YouTube. YouTube is a worldwide video search engine, they are developing together with Google, they have a recommendation neural network that has been created for eight years. You just thought, and she already says to you: “Yes, yes, I’ll give it now.” We are at the beginning of the journey. We believe that in six months our recommender system will be alive and smart enough, but still, this is a different time of development.”
At the same time, even if YouTube is blocked, the Russians will continue to use it via VPN, the former head of Roskomnadzor admitted. He believes that some of the users will switch to RuTube, for this they can increase the server group and bandwidth, as well as use the power of data centers to store more content uploaded by users. “It's not harder, but it's significantly more expensive. But RuTube will do it if necessary, just like VK,” Zharov emphasized and continued to talk about the benefits of the American service.
“But such a quantity of content that is on YouTube is not planned to appear on RuTube. There are 2 billion global users, a third of all global Internet users. At some point, the amount of national Russian-language content on RuTube should become proportional and, possibly, large. But this will not happen because someone closes someone or the platform leaves itself. It's an evolutionary process."
Russian authorities are pouring billions of rubles into the domestic analogue of YouTube - RuTube. Even before the war in Ukraine and the increased talk about blocking American video hosting, the publications Agency and Important Stories found out that Gazprom-Media and the Internet Development Institute were allocating money for the development of the project. It is Alexander Zharov who benefits the most from the project. In just 10 months of 2020, he earned more than in all 8 years of work in the RKN - 299 million rubles. That is, he receives 3,114 rubles per minute, which means more than 1 million a day. In the summer of 2020, a land plot of 45 acres and an 846-meter house with a 278-meter garage were registered for his wife - the cost of similar cottages in this village starts from 300 million rubles and can reach 760 million.