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Federal censor says launch of Apple TV+ should expedite Russia's crackdown on foreign streaming services

Source: Interfax

Russia’s federal censor isn’t happy about the arrival of Apple TV+. On Tuesday, in light of the new service’s arrival, Roskomnadzor director Alexander Zharov asked state officials to expedite the adoption of bylaws needed to enforce new legislation to limit the foreign ownership of video-streaming services available in Russia to 20 percent.

“I implore all interested and involved staff at Roskomnadzor, the Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media Ministry, and in the government cabinet: November 1 is fast approaching, and we’re working together to try to issue these documents as quickly as possible,” Zharov told the news agency Interfax.

The top censor official also called on colleagues to work faster to develop bylaws designed to protect Russian audio-streaming services from foreign competitors.

In Russia, a new law governing the legal status of online movie theaters (whether ad-supported or subscription-based) took effect on July 1, 2017. The law also limits foreign ownership of these services to 20 percent, and requires streaming services to install specific software to track domestic online audiences. Companies that do not comply with these requirements can be blocked in Russia, but officials need the necessary bylaws in place, in order to enforce these rules.

Apple’s new streaming service, “Apple+” launches on November 1. In Russia, Monthly subscriptions will be just 199 rubles ($3.13) — significantly cheaper than Netflix or “Amedia” (another streaming competitor).

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