Russian search giant Yandex is creating a new publishing platform that lets content creators of all sizes — from media companies to “ordinary users” — post directly to its Yandex Zen content recommendations feed.
Zen, which launched in 2015, uses artificial intelligence to suggest content to each user. It’s integrated into Yandex’s mobile app, home page and the Yandex web browser. The company says Zen is available in 50 languages and more than 100 countries and has 6 million daily users just in Russia. Zen users have spent an average of 20 minutes per day on the platform so far this month (May 2017).
With the new content development platform, it sounds like Yandex is turning Zen into something similar to Apple News and Google Newsstand. On Zen, publishers will be able:
… to create their own channels with text, video and advertisements, run media projects, and experiment with mobile formats. Companies can use it to tell their stories, promote their brands, distribute marketing materials and use native advertising to engage with their customers.
Yandex is also launching a new content format called “Narratives” that’s been tested by the likes of Nike, Vogue, Esquire and others. It’s described as “a series of easy-to-flip-through screens for multimedia content such as photos, GIFs, videos and text.”
The publishing platform is launching in Russia first, and Yandex says it’ll expand to other markets later.