Crisis concerns hit Russian pay-TV

December 17, 2014 11.56 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

The financial crisis in Russia may force some pay-TV operators to reduce the number of foreign channels they carry. All are already facing the prospect of paying higher distribution fees for such channels.

ComNews reports that many pay-TV operators are in talks with content providers about the recent changes in exchange rates.

Dmitry Solodovnikov, the head of media relations at MTS, said that in the case of his company no specific decisions have yet been taken.

However, he also pointed to the fact that in the first nine months of this year MTS doubled the number of digital TV channels it offers to its subscribers to 300.

Meanwhile, Rostelecom has confirmed that it is in constant contact with content providers, while VimpelCom and Tricolor TV, the country’s leading provider of pay-TV services, have so far refused to comment.

The exchange rate changes are only serving to compound the problems faced by content providers, with a ban on non-terrestrial TV advertising set to come into force at the beginning of 2015.

The Moscow-based cable operator Akado has nevertheless pointed to its increased cooperation with Viacom International Media Networks, while ER Telecom, another leading cable operator, which operates under the brand, has indicated that it has no plans to increase its subscription fees.

Neither does the DTH platform Orion Express – at least before the end of this year.

One unwelcome consequence of the current crisis could be growth in pirate services, which the Russian authorities have recently tried to clamp down on.

Broadband TV News notes there has been further pressure on the Russian ruble today, December 17.

According to, it was trading at 85.01 to the euro and 68.1 to the dollar as of 13.00 CET.

It also ‘broke’ the 100 ‘barrier’ against the pound sterling, at 106.9.