Russia's Channel One Discloses Financial Data

State subsidies allowed it to operate with a profit.

MOSCOW -- Russia’s flagship TV station Channel One has disclosed its financial data for 2009-2010, which show that it has been able to turn in a profit only thanks to state cash.

According to the disclosed data, published on Channel One’s web site, in 2010, the station’s revenues, mostly accounted for by advertising and sponsor projects, brought in 24.5 billion roubles ($845 million) against the expenditures of 25.8 billion roubles ($890 million). However, subsidies from the federal budget allowed the station, which has the biggest audience share in the country, to show the net profit of 1.05 billion roubles ($34.7 million). In 2009, the channel’s revenues similarly fell short of its operational expenditures, but state subsidies allowed it to turn in a profit of 1.9 billion roubles ($65.5 million).

The station explained its dependence on state cash by the need to operate below cost providing its signals to smaller towns and villages in the country’s far-flung regions, while the channel’s major advertisers are primarily interested in bigger cities.

Channel One is available to 99.3 percent of Russia’s population, followed by Rossiya (98.2 percent) and NTV (97.8 percent). Previously, the station didn’t disclose its financial data and did so only responding to a request from the country’s federal service for financial markets.