Russia’s TV industry is well on the way to recovery after what was a difficult 2009 and is looking forward to the future with growing confidence.
This is certainly in evidence if one looks at the debate currently taking place in the country. The suggestion, for instance, that it can make a technological jump from analogue TV to 3D by bypassing HD might sound a little far-fetched but has been expressed by no less than ER Telecom, one of the Russia’s leading cable operators. Developments in 3D are already moving along impressively, with the DTH platforms NTV-Plus and Platforma HD both set to launch a channel in the format later this year.
The general view amongst leading industry people in Russia is that although 3D will take a number of years – figures of five to seven have been suggested – to become established in the country, it will turn out to be the mass market product that HD isn’t. Indeed, there seems to be some disillusionment with HD, which is growing in popularity in such lucrative markets as Moscow but barely figures in regional parts of the country, where it is in any case too expensive to deliver, especially by satellite.
This is borne out by the statistics, with the HD channels offered by NTV-Plus and the cable operator Akado currently watched by fewer than one in 20 of their subscribers.
The prospects for 3D in Russia ultimately depend on a number of factors. The cost of reception equipment, though still high, will undoubtedly start to fall in the next few months. Whether the production of 3D content can keep pace with demand, however, will remain to be seen.
Russia nevertheless has the advantage of a growing pay-TV sector, fuelled by the popularity of such services as the DTH platform Tricolor TV. A third of TV homes already pay for receiving TV services and this will rise to half within the next four to five years.
This will provide a firm foundation for the development of 3D services in the country.