Netflix is being forced to livestream Russia’s state television networks

When you’re travelling overseas, Netflix must comply to a variety of different rules and licencing agreements, which is why your Netflix collection will seem very different than usual.

While certain economic zones, such as the EU, are considering forcing international streaming services to deliver a certain amount of locally generated content, others are taking a more stringent approach. From March 2022, Russia appears to be one of these harsher regulators, since the country wants Netflix to become something it has never been before: a live TV streaming service giving clients at least 20 state TV stations.

The Russian internet and television regulatory organisation Roskomnadzor, according to The Moscow Times (via WinFuture), added the US service to its “audio-visual services” record on Tuesday. Services on this list are obliged to include at least 20 state TV stations in their portfolio, including NTV, Channel One, and the Russian-Orthodox Church’s Spas (“Saved”) station, with opponents alleging that these and other channels are regularly utilised for pro-government propaganda. These regulations will take effect in March 2022.

The rules also require the corporation to establish a new Russian subsidiary within the nation. Perhaps more importantly, Netflix will be required to observe regulations against the promotion of “extremism,” a limitation that opponents say has mostly been used to stifle opposition speech.

These rules only apply to Russia, so Netflix may continue to operate as usual in the rest of the globe. It remains to be seen if the corporation will accept the limits or whether it will respond by leaving the nation, if that is even economically viable. Given that livestreams function differently than on-demand services, it will be fascinating to see if Netflix uses the underlying livestreaming technology to deliver TV channels in other regions if it follows the new guidelines. This would likely need some research and development on Netflix’s part.