Gazprom Media is looking into the possibility of its DTH platform NTV-Plus entering into a partnership with MegaFon.

Quoting sources at the two companies, Vedomosti reports that discussions have begun but are still at a very preliminary stage and cannot even be called substantive negotiations.

Gazprom Media’s aim is to develop NTV-Plus, perhaps with a major telecom operator such as MegaFon.

NTV-Plus is one of the longest-established DTH platforms in Central and Eastern Europe, having been launched in 1996.

However, it has fallen behind its competitors in recent years and is currently the sixth largest pay-TV operator in Russia and the third largest platform, in the latter case significantly behind Orion Express and Tricolor TV, the market leader.

It posted a loss last year and operates in a pay-TV sector close to saturation, with 36 million of the country’s 55 million households already receiving services.