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Media Subject to New Dry Law on Ads

Print media holdings and Internet portals will become a bit drier this year following the government's decision to prohibit them from publishing alcohol advertisements.

President Vladimir Putin signed off on the changes to the advertising law last Saturday, but representatives of the alcohol industry and media outlets are concerned about the effect these rules will have on their revenues and ability to reach out to customers.

The new rules banning alcohol advertisements are effective immediately in Internet sources and will take effect in print media on Jan. 1, 2013, according to a press release published on the president's website.


A pending union of giants in the book industry

As with other businesses, technological developments over the past couple of decades have had a profound effect on the book industry. With increasing choice for entertainment, fewer people are spending time with their noses in books, and those who are often either opt for cheaper – and lighter – digital versions, or take the route to the black market, downloading pirated versions.

Even in a historically literatureminded country like Russia, the situation is no different, though piracy has proven to be a more serious problem here. Over the past four years, the total number of books printed in Russia has declined from 760.4 million to 612.5 million, while digital sales have remained insignificant.


Web Providers Brace for Restriction Bill

Internet service providers are adding and expanding their systems for scrutinizing online content as they prepare for the onset of the new Internet restriction law.

Taking effect Nov. 1, the law forces Internet service providers to help the government shut down websites featuring content banned by the new law or otherwise deemed illegal. President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign the legislation, which flew through the State Duma and Federation Council earlier this month.


New chapter for Russia’s indie bookshops

As the country’s two biggest publishers join forces, small stores fight to keep independent publishing afloat.

Just off Moscow’s Tverskaya Ulitsa—home to the Ritz Carlton, Tiffany’s and some of the most expensive real estate in the world—there is a small yellow arch inscribed with the word “knigi” (books). Inside, Falanster has little decoration to speak of, save for a poster of Che Guevara by the cash register. Customers bump into each other as they wander through the small room. And everywhere—stacked in piles, spilling out of shelves—are books.

In May, Russia’s most powerful publisher, Eksmo, announced that it was acquiring its main competitor, AST. Eksmo and AST publications, which range from cookbooks to fantasy novels, account for around 40 percent of the Russian book market; in some areas, like fiction, their dominance is near-total.


Print digs in

Dealing as they are with competition from the Internet, not to mention bureaucratic hindrances, Russian print magazines are staying afloat – and bringing more revenues to publishers than websites.

According to the results of TNS Russia’s National Readership Survey, which was conducted from December 2011 through April 2012, weekly magazines about television and show business accounted for 52 percent of the average per-issue readership in Moscow.