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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

Monday, Oct. 20


Amateur pictures from World War I are on display for only one more day at Rosphoto’s exhibition “On Both Sides,” chronicling the conflict through the eyes of observers on both sides of the trenches. The price of entrance to the exhibition is 100 rubles ($2.50).



Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organization’s office.


Take the chance to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Center’s series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this month’s lessons being “visual arts.”



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