The future diversity and quality of thematic channels in Russia hangs in the balance ahead of amendments to the ‘On advertising’ federal law, due to come into effect at the beginning of 2015.

Quoting a study by J’son & Partners, AKTR and Telecom Daily report that at present news and documentary/discovery channels currently make up the largest percentage (22%) currently found in pay-TV packages, the number of movie and sports channels is generally growing.

However, while over 25 were launched in 2013, only eight were in Q1 this year.

HD meanwhile remains a driver for the pay-TV market, with (52) offering viewers the highest number.

It is followed by Beeline TV (48), MTS (39) and Tricolor TV (32), with major platforms on average offering up to 20.

Telecom Daily estimates the number of pay-TV homes in Russia to have been 36.2 million as of Q3 this year, equivalent to a penetration rate of 66%.

Seven of the largest providers, headed by Tricolor TV (10.66 million subscribers), accounted for 80% of the market.