Foreign OTT services operating in Russia are soon likely to find themselves in a very different regulatory environment than at present.
Kommersant reports that Duma deputy Anton Gorelkin has finalised new amendments to the law “On information, information technologies and information protection” that may be submitted to the State Duma this autumn. They will replace the previous bill, which he submitted last December and which extended the 20% cap on foreign ownership to all audiovisual services operating in Russia.
Although the new amendments no longer set a 20% foreign ownership limit, they restrict foreign control on platform management. As Gorelkin explained, foreigners will be able to own the services and profit from investments, but they will not be able to control decisions.
The amendments also state that video services whose share of the Russian audience is less than 50% will be able to open representative offices in Russia. However, these will have to be managed with the help of a special international fund, along the lines of that already operated by the Russian service Yandex, in which there are Russian representatives.
Significantly, there will be restrictions placed on the distribution of content libraries that are foreign owned. Majors will be required to provide libraries to other video services and those that fail to do so will face a ban on distribution on smart TVs and mobile applications.