It’s not often you hear about the launch of a new satellite TV platform aimed specifically at territories conquered by war.
Yet that is precisely what’s just happened in parts of Ukraine occupied by Russia in 2014 and more recently last year. On January 19 the Russian media reported the launch of what they called the country’s fifth such platform after Tricolor TV, NTV-Plus, Orion and MTS TV. Known as Russkiy Mir, or ‘Russian World’, it is “supported” by the All-Russian People’s Front (ONF) and covers the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, Crimea and city of Sevastopol.
Russkiy Mir offers viewers all of Russia’s national TV channels, as well as some regional services, and is available free of charge to people living in these occupied territories, or parts of ‘new Russia’, as they are referred to by the Russian media. There is nothing to pay for reception equipment and its installation, and there is also no subscription fee.
The service, which some have suggested may be leasing capacity from another operator, is seen by Russia as an important step in the integration of these territories into its information space. It may also prove to be a short-term project, irrespective of the outcome of the war.
What is certain, however, is that the war is already having significant implications on the satellite TV market in Russia. Earlier this month the industry publication Telesputnik reported that domestic manufacturers are preparing to produce satellite dishes to make up a shortfall in those previously supplied by Western companies. TrilineSystems, one such manufacturer, will open a facility near Moscow later this year.
More generally, Russian companies are being asked to work together across the media and telecom sectors. By doing so, they will move away from their dependence on Western technology. There is already talk about creating integrated platforms for TV production and the delivery of streaming video, as well as the launch of a national content delivery network (CDN).
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