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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Za Steklom' Web Site Makes RuNet History

A hit on television, TV6's reality-based program "Za Steklom" proved no less of a smash on the Russian Internet.

The controversial show's web site at zasteklom.tv6.ru has drawn some 3.1 million visitors since its launch Oct. 29, more than RuNet's average monthly audience of 2.5 million, according to the Rambler Internet holding. Web users from other countries accounted for one-third of the site's visitors.

The program -- which put six contestants together in an apartment with glass walls and filmed their movements 24 hours a day -- ended this weekend, but the web site is still up and running.

"No other RuNet site has ever seen such dramatic speed of popularity growth," said Ivan Zasoursky, Rambler's communications director. "This case has no precedent in the entire history of the Russian Internet."

Two weeks after the show was launched Oct. 27, the site was No. 3 on Rambler's top 100 rating.

"The "Za Steklom" web site was the major sensation of October on the Russian Internet," said Yevgeny Morozov, a spokesman for the SpyLOG Internet statistics company. "The breakneck surge of the "Za Steklom" site was impressive."

By Nov. 10, it was the third-most visited web site on RuNet, according to SpyLOG, behind only the Yandex and Aport portals. The site stayed at that level for the rest of the month. At its peak, some 120,000 web surfers a day visited the site.

As the "Za Steklom" site soared in popularity, it gave a boost to TV6's web site.

After the "Za Steklom" site's first two days online, it became the most popular TV channel web site, according to SpyLOG. The number of visitors jumped 111 percent.

Rambler, which promoted the show online during the first 10 days of its broadcast, displayed some 10 million "Za Steklom" banners that led web surfers to the TV6 site.

The banners brought 272,000 visitors in the first 10 days of November, Zasoursky said, while a total of 650,000 visitors came to the site from Rambler the entire month. "There was no news site left that did not advertise itself through a "Za Steklom" banner," he said.

The number of search requests for "Za Steklom" rose steadily during the first two weeks of the show, said Yelena Kolmanovskaya, chief editor of the Yandex RuNet portal. After Nov. 12, however, interest dropped slightly as Yandex users were beginning to search for "Posledny Geroi," or the Last Hero, she said, referring to ORT's reality-based program.

In addition to the TV6 site, dozens of unofficial sites devoted to "Za Steklom" sprung up during the broadcast. Some of the sites were set up by fans in support of their favorite contestants, while voyeuristic sites displayed some of the show's more intimate scenes.