Leading search engine Yandex has purchased KinoPoisk, Russia's largest online movie resource, the company said in a statement Tuesday.
While the cost of the deal has not been disclosed, people close to the company said that it was likely to have run into tens of millions of dollars, Itar-Tass reported.
Yandex intends to use KinoPoisk's immense and largely user-generated database, which includes more than 100 million movie ratings with about 3 million more contributed each month, to develop services that will recommend movies based on users' personal interests, the statement said.
"Watching movies is one of the main ways of spending time online today. According to Comscore, Russia is third in the world and first in Europe in terms of the reach of video services. The problem of choice is very urgent here, and every year more and more people encounter it," said Dmitry Stepanov, Yandex's head of media services, Forbes reported.
Yandex also plans to develop KinoPoisk's existing relationships with the film industry. "It is only possible to build a strong service for recommending films in partnership with copyright holders and online movie distributors," Stepanov said.
Asked if the company might soon be looking to buy an online video distributor as well, Stepanov merely said that Yandex is interested in collaboration with all such resources.
Should the company move in this direction, it would come as no surprise. In 2010 Yandex founded the music distribution website Yandex Muzyka, which, Stepanov said, now boasts over 18 million monthly users.
KinoPoisk will retain its current domain name and expects to accelerate growth under its new management.
"Yandex's technology and resources will allow us to develop KinoPoisk faster on various platforms and expand its capabilities, both as a recommending service and an advertising platform," said Vitaly Tatsy, co-founder and general director of KinoPoisk.
KinoPoisk has 18.6 million monthly users and is the 16th most popular site in Russia, according to comScore Media Metrix.
The website's revenues totalled about 150 million rubles ($4.7 million) in 2012 and are expected to grow 10 percent in 2013, an unidentified businessman close to one of the company's partners told Vedomosti.