This year’s CSTB conference and exhibition was held against the backdrop of important developments in the Russian TV industry.
Although the main announcement at the event appears to have been the official launch of a new international cable association bringing together 12 countries in the CEE and Central Asian regions, there was much else that was discussed at the event.
Quoted in the local press, Yuri Pripachkin, president of the Russian cable association (AKTR), predicted that the number of digital channels currently available in the country (300) is likely to double in the next three years.
These will from later this month include Science 2.0, a new, cable-delivered thematic service from the state broadcaster VGTRK that Broadband TV News first reported on late last year.
Russia’s cable industry, which already has revenues exceeding $1 billion (€723.5 million), today finds itself in a period of huge change. This will soon touch the leading operator NKS, whose owner National Telecommunications (NTK) is in the process of being acquired by the national telco Svyazinvest through its regional subsidiaries.
Satellite broadcasting in Russia meanwhile goes from strength to strength, with the latest news being that the country is likely to see the launch of yet one more platform by the end of this year. Operated by the production company Bridge Media, it will join the likes of Tricolor TV and NTV-Plus, though the take-up of satellite TV services is still likely to remain around half that of cable – where penetration currently stands at around 40% – for some time to come.
Russia’s transition to digital broadcasting is also gathering pace, with one report this week predicting it could in fact be completed before a still distant ASO target date of 2015. Its main TV stations are meanwhile contending with a strong and very welcome upturn in the ad market that has left them having to compete for scare commercial airtime.
All in all, it seems the confidence is finally back in Russia’s TV industry.