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Putin Suggests Change in Fate for Dozhd

Published: April 21, 2014 (Issue # 1806)




  • Photo: Vladimir Filonov / SPT

A favorable comment made by President Vladimir Putin during his annual call-in show on Thursday seems to have triggered a change of fortune for embattled independent television channel Dozhd, which is threatened with closure after being dropped by numerous major television operators.

"If the disappearance of Dozhd from television screens is a result of some kind of checks and excessive attention on the part of the regulatory organs, then for my part I will do everything to counteract that attention," Putin said.

Shortly after Putin's statement, on Friday the Russian Association of Cable Operators announced their willingness to aid Dozhd in conducting negotiations with cable operators in order to put the channel back on the air, stating as a condition that Dozhd would have to deal with all cable operators on equal terms.

"They should decide for themselves what commercial model they are working on — they can not work with one operator on one model, with another operator on a second model, and a third for another operator," association head Yury Pripachkin said, Itar-Tass reported.

Dozhd was dropped by a series of television operators after posting a poll in January asking viewers if the blockade of Leningrad was worth the cost in human lives. Perceived as unpatriotic, the poll drew criticism from conservative political figures, while liberals denounced the subsequent dropping of the channel as a move to close a news outlet known for giving airtime to Kremlin opponents.

Dozhd's revenue dropped precipitously following the loss of cable operators, and the channel's finances were further complicated at the end of March when the owners of the Krasny Oktyabr business center, which hosts the Dozhd office, announced that they would not allow Dozhd to renew their lease after its end in June.

Dozhd chief Natalya Sineyeva said in early March that the channel might be forced to close by the end of the month, yet also announced her intention to change the channel's business strategy and pursue new viewing platforms like Smart TV, or online television streaming. Dozhd has also reached out to viewers with an aggressive fundraising campaign, asking for donations and selling merchandise.

While the offer of negotiation with cable operators provides a glimmer of light for Dozhd, the channel's finances are still grim, and the company will need to be able to afford a move to a new office space by June unless Krasny Oktyabr can be persuaded to renew their lease.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburg’s answer to the United States’ popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genre’s authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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