Russia's Pay-TV Market Expects Growth in 2015

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Despite a ban on commercials and unfavorable economic conditions, a four percent growth is expected.

Despite the economic crisis and a recent ban on commercials — which led to the exit of some major players, including CNN — Russia's pay-TV market will grow in 2015.

According to a study released by research group TMT Consulting, the 2015 pay-TV market will grow 4.2 percent to $911 million (59.4 billion rubles) and subscriber base will increase 3.8 percent to 39.2 million households. Penetration is expected to reach 70 percent, a slight increase from 68 percent in 2014.

Last year, the market grew 6.1 percent to $874 million (57 billion rubles) and the subscriber base gained 8.3 percent, reaching 37.8 million households.

Unlike 2014, the 2015 segment is predicted to experience a decline in both revenue and overall economic conditions. On Jan. 1, a ban on commercials on pay-TV was put into effect, which prompted major players, including CNN, to exit the market. As of the new year, CNN is no longer offered by Russian satellite and cable operators.

Due to reduced revenues, channels broadcasting via cable or satellite are expected to cut down on content offered to their viewers. According to the Russian government, the move aimed to create fair conditions for pay-TV and free-to-air networks.

Proliferation of digital free-to-air television and OTT content is amongst the challenges pay-TV is likely to face, TMT Consulting said