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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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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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