Protests are growing in Russia over proposed amendments to the ‘On Advertising’ law that would effectively see a ban on commercials on cable and satellite TV channels.

Local reports point to an open letter sent by pay-TV executives to President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Sergei Ivanov, the head of the Kremlin administration, State Duma Speaker Sergie Naryshkin and chairman of the relevant committee of the Duma Igor Rudensky that says up to 150 thematic channels could be brought to the brink of closure by the move.

It adds that the financial burden of an advertising ban could be shifted to viewers.

Furthermore, most channels currently use a mixed funding (subscription and advertising) model and market forces rather than the law should determine any change in this.

The open letter in addition says that the amendment to the law could hamper the development of SMEs in Russia.

The Russian cable association AKTR has also protested about the proposed ban, writing to the Committee on Economic Policy. According to the Association of Communication Agencies of Russia, cable and satellite channels accounted for R4 billion (€86.3 million) of a TV ad market worth R156 billion last year.