Russia’s TV industry has been adapting to new realities since the start of the war in Ukraine.
In the absence of a multitude of leading international companies, ranging from premium content providers to technology suppliers, it has had to fend for itself in what is an increasingly insular environment.
From the outside looking in, it’s difficult to assess how things are going. Indeed, we can only refer to, and judge from, local industry reports.
Earlier this week, one spoke about the need to replace foreign signal protection and rights management solutions (DRM) – CAS and DRM respectively – with locally produced ones. Whilst acknowledging this cannot be done quickly, it struck a reassuring note by saying that the latter have already been used by a number of major Russian operators for several years. Furthermore, if there is a desire on the part of operators to replace imports with local solutions, the transition process can be speeded up.
Other recent reports have spoken about the changes taking place in Russia’s OTT sector, usually referred to as online cinema. Again, earlier this week, one referred to an increase in the number of subscribers in urban areas, both paid and unpaid, receiving such services in the third quarter. Indeed, the figures were up to the levels at the end of last year, two months before the start of the war. They had also been reached in the absence of the foreign-owned Netflix and Megogo, which are no longer available in the country.
Although the sector is still growing, this comes against the backdrop of fewer productions, less Western content – replaced in part by Turkish and South Korean films and TV series – and growing piracy.
We will be offered further insights into what is going on in Russia following the publication of detailed Q3 figures for the pay-TV and OTT/VOD markets, most probably in early November. However, what is already clear is that the Russian TV industry is changing quite rapidly and how it will look in the future is becoming increasingly difficult to predict.
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