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Russian pay TV ad ban could drive channels out of business

Up to 54 Russian TV channels could close as a result of the new Federal law banning pay TV services from carrying advertising, attendees at the St Petersburg International Media Forum have heard.

According to figures compiled by trade magazine Cableman, the law, which comes into effect in January, could push a significant number of channels into loss-making territory.

Russian deputy communications and mass media minster Alexey Volin told attendees at the conference that the law would have a “cleansing” effect on the market and that most of the affected channels were already “half-dead”, according to US trade newspaper Variety.

Volin said the law, which also calls for the centralization of media buying via a single organisation, would prevent dumping of advertising space in the market and would help create a more rational market.