Russia’s leading broadcaster Channel One finds itself in an increasingly difficult financial position, with the money it owes to producers more than tripling between 2012 and last year.
According to Vedomosti, the broadcaster’s debts in 2012 amounted to R2 billion (€35.2 million) and they subsequently increased to R4.5 billion in 2013 and R7.1 billion in 2014.
Of this, 90% was owed to producers of series, movies and TV shows.
The largest creditor is Mars Media, to which Channel One owes R254.6 million.
Its owner Ruben Dishdishyan said that repayments slowed at the end of last summer, when the economy began to deteriorate.
Channel One relies mostly on advertising for its income and became unprofitable for the first time in many years in 2013. Its costs rose sharply last year due to the Sochi Winter Olympics, where it was responsible for the broadcasting of the opening and closing ceremonies.
Channel One also spent heavily on securing the rights to the 2014 World Cup.
Its revenues grew by 3% to R30.1 billion in 2014, while its net loss of R938 million was slightly down on the previous year’s R1 billion.
Channel One is backed by the National Media Group and Roman Abramovich and saw its audience share among viewers aged 14-49 increase from 12.85% in 2013 to 13.62% last year.
Significantly, it is not the only broadcaster facing such debt problems, with NTV understood to have completely stopped paying producers in the last few months.