This year, lawmakers in Russia passed a law that said that from July 2020 all devices must come with pre-installed Russian software. Further laws in the country could also limit the expansion of Apple TV+ there.
Russia Pushes Back Against Apple TV+ Growth
Even before Apple TV+ launched on November 1st, the Russian government said that it would write legislation to limit foreign video services challenging local firms. It specifically mentioned Apple.
Elena Khlebnikova, content director at Russian online video service tvzavr, told The Hollywood Reporter:
At this point, we don’t see Apple TV+ as a competitor, since they have a totally different content policy and audience. As we know, the service doesn’t offer content dubbed into Russian, which probably means that they don’t expect a substantial audience at the initial stage, as Russian viewers are mostly not used to subtitled content.
While Apple TV+ has not made much of an impact in Russia thus far, that could change. Such a development would likely provoke a backlash from the government there. A law in Russia introduced two years ago limit the stake non-Russians can have in a video streaming service that operates in Russia. The law stated that video services with subscribers totaling more than 50 percent of all Russian video streaming users can only be 20% foreign-owned.
Currently, Apple and Netflix do not disclose how many subscribers they have in Russia. However, the law will compel them to do so. If they have cleared the 50% threshold, the services could be driven out of the country.