ProSport: Russian Premier League Making Foray Into Pay-TV Market
Liga TV General Dir Ilya Hercus told the ProSport conference in Moscow on Thursday that Liga TV, the TV arm of the Russian Football Premier League, aims to turn its channel, Nash Futbol, into a flagship of the rapidly developing sports pay-TV market in Russia by '16. “The main strategic goal is the creation of a new market for sports pay-TV,” Hercus said, adding that Nash Futbol, which RFPL acquired from the satellite operator NTV Plus, is going to play a leading role in that market. According to Hercus, although 99% of all ad budgets on Russian TV are currently accounted for by free-to-air channels, RFPL chose a pay-TV option because no free-to-air channel would agree to air all the games on each matchday, which RFPL believes to be vital. Among the challenges ahead, Hercus called for the improvement of the quality of broadcasts, extensive use of mobile devices and social media, and the changing of perceptions of viewers, who are used to watching TV content for free.
Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.