Netflix Faces More Restrictions in Russia

Moscow Red Sqaure - H 2015
AP Images

Moscow Red Sqaure - H 2015

Foreign video services will have to be locally registered and translate 80 percent of their content into Russian.

The Russian government is preparing more restrictions on Netflix and any other foreign video services that may want to enter the market.

Under a new set of requirements, developed by a local media association, online video services will have to be run through a Russia-registered subsidiary.

In addition, video services operating in Russia will have to translate at least 80 percent of their content into Russian, and at least 30 percent of their content will have to be locally produced.

If a company fails to comply, access to it could be blocked, as is currently the case with websites that are proven to carry pirated content.

Earlier announced legislation introduced a local value added tax on online digital sales, which will affect Netflix, Google Play and iTunes. It recently passed the first reading in Russian parliament and is expected to be enacted soon.

Russian officials also said they might demand that Netfix apply for a broadcast license, but they are ready for negotiations and expect the U.S. video service to make the first move.

Netflix declined to comment. Previously the company said it was willing to comply with the Russian law.

Currently, Netflix content is available in Russia only in English and offers a few globally licensed Russian titles.

Since Netflix launched in Russia in early January, local competitors have been lobbying to impose restrictions on the service.