Netflix says that it won’t be adding the 20 free-to-air channels that local Russian law could require it to after surpassing the 100,000-subscriber mark.
The growth of Netflix in Russia means that it is now large enough to be required by law to carry the free-to-air channels that offer sports, news, and entertainment, according to a Variety report. Netflix was added to the list of outfits that must stream the content in December of last year, although it wasn’t thought that the law would actually kick in until tomorrow — March 1.
However, Netflix tells Variety that it won’t be doing so given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Many of the TV channels that Netflix would need to stream are thought to offer propaganda for the Kremlin.
The channels include Channel One, NTV and Spa, a channel operated by the Russian Orthodox Church. Channel One is understood to be aligned with the Kremlin and likely to broadcast Putin propaganda, Variety understands.
“Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety.
Russia hasn’t said what it would do if Russia did indeed require the channels be offered as part of local laws from March 1.
While Apple TV+ doesn’t share subscriber numbers, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that this is a scenario that the streamer could also fall into — although hopefully under different circumstances.