Netflix lost subscribers in the US for the first time since 2011. Picture: JAAP ARRIENS/NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES
Netflix lost subscribers in the US for the first time since 2011. Picture: JAAP ARRIENS/NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Netflix has struck a partnership with Russia’s National Media Group, a broadcaster linked to President Vladimir Putin’s billionaire ally Yury Kovalchuk, as it prepares to roll out a local-language service in October.

The partners will offer subtitled and dubbed Netflix series as well as some Russian content, and users will be able to pay in roubles, Netflix said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday. The company has similar local-language services in countries including India and Malaysia.

The deal keeps Netflix in line with laws restricting foreign ownership of media operating in Russia, created in response to tensions with the US and Europe over its annexation of Crimea in 2014. National Media Group also runs Russian channels of Discovery and Sony. There’s also a separate law restricting foreign ownership of streaming services, excluding YouTube.

The Russian market for video-streaming services reached 18.6-billion roubles ($250 million) in the first half of 2020, led by local services Ivi.ru and Okko, according to researcher TelecomDaily.

Bloomberg

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