Russia not ready for Netflix

October 18, 2013 10.49 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

Lifestyle Popcorn NetflixRussia is not currently a good prospect for Netflix and is unlikely to be so for at least the next 3-5 years, according to Egor Iakovlev, CEO and founder of Tvigle, the country’s leading legal online video company.

Speaking to Broadband TV News at a special media event in London, he said that there are currently a number of factors that would make Russia a difficult market for Netflix to operate in.

Firstly, there is no established habit for paying for channels like there is in the US, where the cable market is over 50 years old.

Secondly, there is a wide selection of FTA channels in Russia and the quality of the programming they show is high.

For instance, feature films often air on main channels only a couple of months after their theatrical release.

Thirdly, there is a high level of piracy in Russia, though this is being addressed by new legislation that is already having an effect.

Iakovlev said that idea of the scale of piracy in Russia can be gauged from the fact that of the 10 billion streams in Russia only 1 billion are from legal sources and two billion from semi-legal sources, the latter of which include YouTube, with the remainder from pirated sources.

Since its enactment in August, the new anti-piracy legislation has already led to the closure of over 50 pirate sites.

Tvigle was launched in 2007 and has a 20% share of unique monthly viewers. It has over 7,500 partner websites and a unique advertising network and had an audience of 10 million as of April this year.

Tvigle also has content partnership agreements with the BBC, Fox International Channels, Disney Channel, CTC Media and Central Partnership.