Starting in March, Netflix will have to broadcast 20 state TV channels in Russia. Roskomnadzor, the country’s media watchdog, registered the platform as an “audiovisual service” this week. Among the channels that Netflix will have to show are Channel One, the entertainment network NTV, and the Russian Orthodox Church channel called Spas (which means “Saved”).
Streaming services with more than 100,000 daily users in Russia are included in the registry, which was created late last year. Not only must registered platforms offer state TV channels, they must establish a Russian company, according to Moscow Times.
Companies registered in the registry are also required to comply with Russian laws. For one thing, Netflix will not be allowed to promote “extremism”. Critics claim that the ruling has been used against those who support opponents of the Kremlin.
Other video services in the country have reportedly argued that Netflix should be added to the registry to level the playing field, given that it meets the requirements. The Russian version of Netflix is operated by Entertainment Online Service, a subsidiary of the National Media Group, which has a stake in Channel One.
Engadget has contacted Netflix for comment.
In November, it was revealed that Russia was investigating a complaint about LGBTQIA+ content on Netflix. The company told Engadget that this content was appropriately rated. In the same month, Russia ordered several tech giants (including Apple, Google, Meta, TikTok and Twitter) to set up offices within its borders by the end of this year.
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