NTV-Plus, Russia’s oldest satellite TV company, and one which has been in business for more than 16 years, announced in late December it is slashing its monthly fee for customers east of the Urals – in the Asian part of Russia – by an impressive 30 times to as low as 29 rubles, or less than a dollar, effective mid-January.
This entry-level rate will cover 35 channels; for an extra 15 rubles (about 50 cents) a customer will be able to access as many as 50 channels, including HD ones.
Over the longer term, the company is considering extending this rate to European Russia (west of the Ural mountains) as well. If enacted, this would shed about 75% off the current fees west of the Urals, which are already hovering near bare minimum.
NTV-Plus seeks to win over customers across the Urals and Siberia with this price-cutting move. In anexchange with the Russian business daily Vedomosti Alexei Zhuravlev, the company’s director of marketing, said he expects a projected 100,000 new households from these vast regions to be added on an annual basis to its current 650,000 subscriber base that comprises almost exclusively European Russians and has scarcely grown over the years.
National Satellite Company, NTV-Plus’ arch rival operating under the Tricolor TV brand name, already cut its basic rates in October 2012, offering a 365-movie package for 500 rubles (about $17) a year and a 51-to-134-channel package for 50 rubles ($1.70) a month.
Another Russian satellite operator, Orion-Express, runs its own discounter project, Telekarta. Just 600 rubles, or $20, per year buys you 39 channels.
Pavel Basov, the former CEO of Tricolor TV, forecast as early as December 2011 that by the end of 2016, satellite TV would account for 52% of the pay-TV market in Russia.
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