Ban on Ads on Pay TV Lifted in Russia, But Only for Local Networks

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Turner officials discuss the return of CNN International to Russia.

A ban on advertisements on pay TV in Russia has been lifted, but only for networks whose content is mostly produced locally. Meanwhile, Turner officials have discussed the return of CNN International to Russia with the country’s media watchdog.

On Tuesday, the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russian parliament, adopted a bill that amends last year's controversial legislation banning advertisement on pay-TV.

Under the bill, pay TV networks will be able to run ads again, as long as at least 75 percent of their content is produced locally.

The ban, which came into effect Jan. 1, 2015, prompted some foreign networks, such as CNN International and Universal Networks International, to pull out of Russia.

Although the new bill is not going to affect foreign networks, Turner officials had a meeting at Roskomnadzor, the country's media watchdog, on Tuesday, discussing a possible return of CNN to Russia.

Roskomnadzor said on its website that participants in the meeting, including Hannes Heyelmann, senior vp and managing director for German-speaking territories, CEE, Benelux and Russia, and Rani Raad, chief commercial officer at CNN International, as well as the agency's officials, "expressed mutual interest in the resumption of CNN International's broadcasting in Russia and discussed applicable legal opportunities."

Earlier this month, there were press reports that CNN International may soon return to Russia.