Russia relaxes pay-TV rules

The past few weeks have seen a number of non-Russian pay-TV broadcasters quit the country because of severe limits on foreign ownership and tough rules on the amount of advertising their channels can carry. The new rules kicked in on January 1st.

Russia’s parliament (Duma) has now softened its stance, saying that advertising on pay-TV channels is now permitted as long as the channel devotes at least 75 per cent of its airtime to Russian-made content.

BBC Monitoring, quoting Russia’s Interfax news agency, says the definition of “Russian-made content” is that it must be made by Russian citizens or organizations registered in Russia, or be content commissioned by a Russian media outlet, in Russian or the languages of the other ethnic groups of the Russian Federation. Foreign investment in the Russian content cannot exceed 50 per cent of its cost.

“On the one hand, the return of advertising is good, despite the fact that we believe more in the strategy of a subscription channel,” the general director of internet and satellite broadcaster Dozhd TV, Natalya Sindeyeva, quoted Interfax. “On the other hand, the advertising market has declined catastrophically, and it isn’t clear how much money will return to non-terrestrial channels,” she added.

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