Netflix Has ‘No Plans’ to Add Russian Channels to Service, Bucking New Regulation

Russian law requires companies with more than 100,000 subscribers to carry 20 different local stations, which could air state-run propaganda

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Netflix says it has no plans to add any state-run Russian channels to its service, which under a Russian regulation could try and mandate that Netflix carry the stations.

“Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a Netflix spokesman told TheWrap on Monday. The statement alludes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The spokesperson did not comment on whether it had informed Russia of any decision.

Netflix launched in Russia more than a year ago and was informed in December 2021 that it would have to carry 20 different local news, sports and entertainment stations as part of a law locally known as the Vitrina TV law. The channels are state-run, some potentially with ties to the Kremlin, and could be likely to air Russian propaganda.

The law applies to any audio and visual services in Russia that reach over 100,000 subscribers, and though Netflix does not share subscriber information, the Wall Street Journal noted that Netflix has less than 1 million subscribers in Russia. Netflix however is the only international company to cross that 100,000 subscriber threshold.

However, the law itself has not yet been enforced but could go into effect or be enforced on March 1.

WSJ first reported the news.