Netflix will not be adding Russian propaganda programming to its platform in the territory, contrary to initial reports over the weekend.
Under a law that was projected to take effect March 1, Netflix would have been obligated to carry content from Channel One, entertainment network NTV and a Russian Orthodox Church channel.
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The streaming giant, which launched local-language service in Russia a little more than a year ago, is understood to have fewer than 1 million of its 222 million global subscribers there.
Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine has put the media spotlight on the country’s business relationships and protocols, including in the media. “Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a rep told Deadline in a statement.
Its media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, added Netflix as an “audiovisual service” last year, along with other streaming outlets with at least 100,000 viewers. Those on the registry were to have been obligated to carry 20 channels and also avoid promoting “extremism.”
As of recent weeks, Netflix was the only U.S.-based company on the registry.
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The laws governing media outlets have not yet taken effect, though recent press reports had speculated they might become official on March 1. Given the current circumstances in the country, media restrictions may not be high on the list of priorities for the government.
Netflix’s Russian operation is run by Entertainment Online Service, a subsidiary of National Media Group, a part-owner of Channel One.
While the company’s statement referred to “channels,” Netflix has never provided linear-style channels such as those offered by Roku, Paramount Global’s Pluto TV, NBCUniversal’s Peacock or other streaming services. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Roskomnadzor would require linear channels to stream, or their programming to be supplied on an on-demand basis.
Last spring, Netflix announced its first Russian original: Anna K, based on the novel Anna Karenina and starring Svetlana Khodchenkova (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).
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