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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

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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