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Russia to ban ads on C&S pay-TV channels

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MUMBAI: Even as broadcasters in India are fighting tooth and nail with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to rollback the ad cap regulation that restricts satellite TV channels from airing more than 12 minutes of advertisements per hour, a completely different situation has just cropped up in Russia.

A new bill that has gone through three stages of hearings in one week is just waiting for approval from the President of Russia. The state Duma has passed a bill banning advertising on cable and satellite pay TV channels that will be effective from 1 January 2015. The bill has been created for a level playing field between Russia’s free to air (FTA) cable channels and those that monetise by both ads and subscription.

Channels that are available on a paid basis as well as those that are encoded will be included in the ad ban. National, universally accessible and terrestrial channels will not come under the ban. Last week, a letter was sent by few Russian channels requesting the government to think through before passing a bill of such nature. The letter mentioned that of the 270 C&S channels in Russia, 150 will be threatened due to this bill, leading to an increase in the price of pay TV.

According to reports by Association of Communication Agencies of Russia, advertising revenue from digital and satellite channels last year was just 2.6 per cent of total TV ad market as compared to the rest taken by FTA channels ($ 4.4  billion).

Across the world, the standard rate of advertisement is 12 minutes per hour including the UK, Germany, Ireland, Norway and Argentina.

Zee Russia is one Indian broadcaster that is present in Russia.

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