Yandex, the Russian search giant, is creating a new publishing platform that allows content creators of all sizes post directly to its Yandex Zen content recommendations feed.

Launched back in 2015, Zen uses artificial intelligence to suggest content to each user.  The platform has been integrated into the company’s mobile app, home page and the Yandex web browser.  According to Yandex, Zen is available in 50 languages, and over 100 countries, and has 6 million daily users just in Russia.  Users have spent about 20 minutes on average per day on the platform so far during the month of May 2017.

With the introduction of this new development platform, it would seem like Yandex is turning Zen into something attuned to Google Newsstand or Apple News.  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.

A new content format called “Narratives” is also being launched, and is being tested by the likes of Vogue, Esquire, Nike, and others.  It’s described as “a series of easy-to-flip-through screens for multimedia content such as photos, GIFs, videos and text.”

Russia will be the first to see the publishing platform’s launch.  Yandex says that it’ll expand to other markets later.

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