The European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, has published a new report analysing the origin of the content broadcast by the main Russian TV channels.
The dominance of terrestrial channels has always been one of the main characteristics of Russian television. Due to the federal broadcasting system being founded and supplied by the state, the leading channels are able to be broadcast all over the country. In total in 2012, according to the data of the Federal Antimonopoly Service, there existed 21 federal TV channels. These are: Channel One, Russia 1, Russia 2, Russia 24, Russia K, NTV, Petersburg – Channel 5, TVC, CTC, Peretz, Domashniy, U, Disney Channel, TV3, MTV, TNT, REN TV, Mir, Zvezda, 2×2 and RBC TV. All of them have their own terrestrial frequency, except RBC TV which only joined this list in 2012. Almost 50 per cent of federal channels belong to the must-carry package. In 2012 this list contained: Channel One, Russia 1, Russia 2, Russia 24, Russia K, NTV, Petersburg – Channel 5, Public Television of Russia and Karusel. This means that all TV operators had to include these channels into the must-carry package and broadcast them to consumers for free. 90 per cent of Russian TV viewers watch federal channels regularly.
According to research by the Russian Association of Communication Agencies in 2012 advertising revenues of channels increased by 9 per cent to RUB 143.2bn (VAT not included). As much as RUB 139.9bn was earned by terrestrial broadcasters and the other RUB 3.31bn by production companies and distributors of thematic channels broadcast via cable networks and satellite. In total, TV as a segment used to dominate in terms of the whole advertising market. For the six most significant players (Channel One, Russia 1, NTV, CTC, TNT and REN TV), their advertising volume share on the terrestrial TV amounted to 70 per cent in 2012. Moreover, the most significant purchases of premiere TV and cinema content in Russia was also attributed to these channels.
As for the breakdown of national domestic and foreign content broadcast by the leading channels compared to the total broadcasting time, it should be mentioned that this aspect has remained constant for the last 2 years in terms of both the total volume and individual channels. In 2012, according to the data of KVG Research, the national content broadcast by the TV channels which were analysed corresponded to 77 per cent of the total content broadcast whereas the foreign content was 23 per cent. In absolute terms, in 2012 the volume of foreign content corresponded to over 10,000 hours or about 12,000 titles. Only 11 per cent of the foreign broadcasts consisted of premiere content. To put this in perspective, in 2012 the volume of premiere content for the national content corresponded to 43 per cent.
Two TV channels, CTC (45 per cent) and TNT (41 per cent), aired a variety of foreign content most actively. These TV channels still keep offering foreign full-length films, TV series and animation projects to their audiences. The share of foreign projects aired by NTV equalled 5 per cent and contained mainly films and TV series which were as a rule broadcast at night. As for share of the national content on air, Russia 1 ranks 2nd with 90 per cent, followed by Channel One (81 per cent), which is ahead of REN TV by 1 per cent (REN TV obtained 80 per cent).
Russian production companies cannot currently compete with foreign players in two areas: full-length films, of which 83 per cent are foreign projects; and animated films and series, of which 83.4 per cent are foreign products.
In 2012 71 per cent of all foreign TV projects broadcast by the leading Russian terrestrial TV channels came from the USA. Great Britain ranked 2nd, having achieved 6 per cent of all unique project titles, followed by France with 5 per cent. Other countries accounted for between 1-3 per cent out of the whole of terrestrial broadcasts in terms of the period analyzed. Over 40 other countries were listed among the remaining 5 per cent (which appears as ‘others’), containing, in particular, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Czech Republic and Hungary.
As a rule, Russian TV channels broadcast foreign content at night or early in the morning. This phenomenon is a characteristic of Russian TV. From midnight until 5am the share of foreign content transmissions reaches its peak and equals 42 per cent in total, of which 59 per cent is content from European countries.
Additional broadcasting platforms for TV and cinema content which are actively developed in Russia enable foreign companies to profit using other sales channels. In summer 2013 there existed about 60 online VoD resources which contained licensed content. According to the data of KVG Research, 52 per cent of all resources have both national and foreign content in their libraries. 45 per cent of all resources deal only with national content, 88 per cent of which contain video platforms affiliated with TV channels. iTunes by Apple appeared in Russia at the end of 2012. Smart TV turned out to be a real breakthrough in recent years in Russia. Over 50 per cent of all applications offered by the stores are Russian speaking. The most significant Russian online video platforms are: tvigle.ru, ivi.ru, megogo.ru, now.ru, videomore.ru, zoomby.ru, play.ru and others, as well as applications of Russian TV channels (Channel One, CTC, Domashniy, Peretz, Dozhd and RBC). 35 per cent of all resources are English speaking and are dominated by information, music and educational content.