Netflix is known to be one of the most popular Video on Demand (VoD) platform players worldwide. Its presence which has brought breakthroughs in the content industry, especially films, has made other similar platforms appear.
Netflix is widely present in almost all countries in the world, including Russia. However, in order to continue doing business in the country, Netflix is required to comply with a number of rules including being asked to broadcast a number of state-owned TV channels.
Starting next March, Netflix will have to stream 20 state television channels in Russia. Roskomnadzor, the country’s media watchdog, registered the platform as an audiovisual service last week.
This rule is made for online streaming services that have more than 100 thousand users every day. In addition, registered platforms must not only offer state TV channels, they also need to establish Russian companies, including Netflix.
Netflix is also not allowed to promote extremism, a restriction it has imposed on supporters of the anti-Kremlin opposition or the Russian government.
Among the channels that Netflix must bring are state-owned Channel One, entertainment-focused NTV, and the Russian Orthodox Church’s internal channel, Spa, to users in Russia. Streaming services with more than 100,000 daily users in Russia are included in the list, which Netflix is obliged to include. According to The Moscow Times, registered platforms must not only offer state TV channels, they also need to establish Russian companies.
Registered companies must also comply with Russian law. For one thing, Netflix will not be allowed to promote ‘extremism’.” Critics claim that the provision has been used against those who support the Kremlin resistance.
Other video services in the country are reportedly of the opinion that Netflix should be added to the list to equalize, as it meets the requirements. The Russian version of Netflix is operated by the Entertainment Online Service, a subsidiary of the National Media Group, which has a stake in Channel One.
Meanwhile, Engadget has reached out to Netflix for comment. In November, it became known that Russia was investigating complaints over LGBTQIA+ content on Netflix.
The company notified Engadget that such content was appropriate for its age category or audience rate. That same month, Russia ordered several tech giants (including Apple, Google, Meta, TikTok and Twitter) to set up offices on its territory until at least the end of this year.
Later, Netflix was banned from promoting extremist shows. Critics claim that the policy was designed to stifle anti-Kremlin or government opposition voices.
The Russian version of Netflix will be operated by the Entertainment Online Service, a subsidiary of the National Media Group which also has a stake in Channel One.
Russia has in recent months tightened policies for foreign technology companies operating in the country. Some time ago, the government fined Google and Meta as much as 125 million US dollars or Rp. 1.7 trillion for failing to censor illegal content.
It should be noted that Russia has in recent months tightened restrictions on the operations of foreign internet giants within its borders. Previously, Google and Apple were both forced to remove content related to jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his colleagues ahead of Russia’s parliamentary elections, after authorities threatened to sue the tech giant’s local employees.