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State Bans Advertising on Cable and Satellite Channels

Published: July 7, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • Natalya Sindeyeva at Alexander Vinokurov of Dozhd speaking at a news conference earlier this year.
    Photo: D. Abramov / Vedomosti

In a decision that has cast a pall over the future of small and independent television stations, the State Duma on Friday rubber-stamped a widely censured bill banning advertising on cable and satellite television from the beginning of 2015.

The law raced from proposal to reality in less than a week, passing its first reading Tuesday and its second and third in a single blow on Friday.

Suddenly learning of the initiative, the heads of several Russian channels — including Natalya Sindeyeva of opposition-minded news channel Dozhd and Sergei Nazarov of premium channel Amedia TV — last week wrote a letter urging the government to consult with the business community before rushing to a decision.

Of about 270 cable and satellite channels in Russia, "excluding the advertising model will place about 150 on the brink of survival," the letter said, warning that the ban would likely lead to an increase in the price of paid television services.

Such a ban is unheard of in "the vast majority of countries," the authors added, according to a copy of the letter posted last week on Dozhd's website.

The bill bans advertising on all channels that are available "exclusively on a paid basis," as well as on channels that can only be viewed with a decoding device.

Safe from the ban are all "national, compulsory, universally accessible" channels, and those which are conveyed by terrestrial broadcasting — in other words, all the major state-run channels that dominate the Russian airwaves.

According to its author Igor Zotov, a Duma deputy and leader of the marginal Russian Pensioners for Justice party, the bill is intended to even the playing field for free and subscription-based channels. In Zotov's view, paid channels now benefit from two sources of revenue — advertising and subscriptions fees — while the free broadcast channels have to make do with just advertising.

Interestingly, however, the advertising revenues of digital and satellite channels last year amounted to just 2.6 percent of the total television advertising market — hardly a competitive market share, according to data from the Association of Communication Agencies of Russia.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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