Starting in March, Netflix will have to stream 20 state TV channels in Russia. Roskomnadzor, the country’s media watchdog, this week registered the platform as an “audio-visual service.” Some of the channels Netflix will have to stream include the flagship Channel One, the NTV entertainment network, and a Russian Orthodox Church channel called Spas (meaning “Saved”).
Streaming services with more than 100,000 daily users in Russia are included in the register, which was established at the end of last year. Registered platforms must not only offer state TV channels, but they must also set up a Russian company, The Moscow Times.
Companies entered in the register must also comply with Russian laws. On the one hand, Netflix will not be allowed to promote “extremism”. Critics say this provision has been used against those who support opponents of the Kremlin.
Other video services across the country have reportedly argued that Netflix should be added to the registry to level the playing field because it meets the requirements. The Russian version of Netflix is operated by Entertainment Online Service, a subsidiary of National Media Group, which owns a stake in Channel One.
Engadget has contacted Netflix for comment.
In November, it emerged that Russia was investigating a complaint about LGBTQIA + content on Netflix. The company told Engadget that this content is being rated appropriately. That 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.