Russian Distributor Pulls Discovery Channels from Leading Pay TV Operator

MOSCOW, RUSSIA -A general view of Red square and Kremlin-Getty-H 2016
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The two sides had differences over distribution of revenues.

Discovery channels will not be available on Tricolor TV, Russia's largest pay TV operator, as of December over a revenue division dispute.

Media Alliance, the Russian distributor of Discovery channels, has suspended its agreement with Tricolor.

"Media Alliance is suspending the broadcasting of Discovery Channel HD, Eurosport 1 HD and TLC HD on Tricolor TV," Grigory Lavrov, general director of Media Alliance, told The Hollywood Reporter. "We haven't resumed the contract because of differences over the scheme of distributing revenues between the content producer and the operator."

"Tricolor TV brought forward unacceptable conditions that are not commensurate with our continuous investment in content," he added.

Tricolor TV did not respond to The Hollywood Reporter's request for comment.

Since the beginning of 2016, Discovery channels have been distributed in Russia by Media Alliance, a joint venture of Discovery Communications and Russia's National Media Group. A law that came into effect on January 1, 2016, limits foreign ownership of media companies to 20-percent stakes.

Media Alliance also distributes Turner's Cartoon Network, Boomerang and CNN in Russia.

In 2015, Tricolor had 11.8 million subscribers, which corresponds to roughly one-third of all pay TV subscribers in Russia.

Disputes between content producers and pay TV operators have not been uncommon in Russia. In 2014, after a sharp devaluation of the ruble, the pay TV operator Acado disconnected Viasat channels.