Streaming services will be required to broadcast 20 national TV channels in Russia.
What you need to know
- According to reports, Russia is forcing Netflix to start operating its state-owned channels in March.
- As part of the country’s requirements for registering companies, Netflix also needs to register a Russian subsidiary.
- Streaming media services are also banned from broadcasting programs that contain “extremism.”
According to the “Moscow Times” report, Russia’s Internet and telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor will require Netflix to start broadcasting 20 state-owned TV channels after adding a streaming platform to its “audiovisual service” registration starting in March.
The register was established at the end of 2020 and aims to require online streaming services with more than 100,000 users a day to carry national TV channels, among other requirements. In addition, the registered company must establish a Russian subsidiary.
Flagship Channel One, NTV for entertainment and Spas, the Russian Orthodox Church, are one of the channels that Netflix will broadcast. In addition to carrying these channels, the US-based company must also comply with Russian laws prohibiting “extremist” content, a provision that is seen as part of the Kremlin’s efforts to suppress dissent.
The Russian version of Netflix is operated by Entertainment Online Service, a subsidiary of National Media Group. According to Engadget, National Media Group owns shares in Channel One.
Outside Russia, Netflix usually does not provide state-owned channels to subscribers. However, if the company wants to continue operating in the country, it must comply with the new requirements.
The new restrictions are the latest example of Russia’s tightening of control over international companies operating within its borders. In early 2021, the country instructed Google to remove content deemed illegal. On New Year’s Eve, the Russian authorities imposed a fine of 98 million U.S. dollars on Google for failing to delete illegal content (via the BBC). Last year, Twitter also suffered the same fate.
Russia also requires mobile devices to be pre-installed with Russian apps to help software companies in the country gain a foothold on the iPhone and the best Android phones.