What you need to know
- Russia is reportedly forcing Netflix to carry its state-owned channels beginning in March.
- As part of the country's requirements for registered firms, Netflix will also be required to register a Russian subsidiary.
- The streaming service is also barred from airing programs containing "extremism."
Russia's internet and telecom watchdog, Roskomnadzor, will require Netflix to stream 20 state-owned TV channels beginning in March after adding the streaming platform to its "audio-visual services" register, according to a report by The Moscow Times.
The register came into being in late 2020 in an effort to require online streaming services with more than 100,000 daily users to carry state TV channels, among other requirements. In addition, companies listed on the register must establish a Russian subsidiary.
The flagship Channel One, the entertainment-oriented NTV, and the Russian Orthodox Church's channel Spas are among the channels Netflix will stream. In addition to carrying these channels, the U.S.-based company must follow Russian laws that prohibit "extremism" content, a provision seen as part of the Kremlin's efforts to crack down on dissent.
Netflix's Russian version is operated by Entertainment Online Service, a subsidiary of National Media Group. According to Engadget, National Media Group owns a stake in Channel One.
Outside of Russia, Netflix does not typically serve state-owned channels to subscribers. However, if the company wants to continue operating in the country, it must comply with the new requirements.
The new restrictions are the latest example of Russia's increasing control over international firms operating within its borders. Earlier in 2021, the country directed Google to remove content deemed illegal. Just before the new year, Russian authorities fined Google $98 million for failing to remove illegal content (via BBC). Last year, Twitter suffered the same fate.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.