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Russian TV Channels
December 14, 2007 14:29

Channel One

Channel One is largely considered to be the most popular and highly rated TV channel in Russia. Its programs are received by 98.8% of all Russia’s population – this fact is affirmed by TV market research companies.

However, 2012 became the first year when it lost its leadership to NTV, if TNS data are to be trusted.

Programs aired by Channel One are also broadcasted via satellites in Europe, Middle East, North Africa, Asia, Australia and North America.

At the beginning of 1995 the changes were vitally necessary, since the channel’s rating had sunk and lost a big part of its audience by that time. In attempt to regain the popularity, the new administration of the channel got rid of “weak” programs and build up a new broadcasting structure.

Today Channel One airs such programs as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Star Factory along with many other home-made programs. Besides, the channel performs as a producer of Russian movies and series.

As the key federal channel, Channel One actually conveys the official opinion of the government and the President, giving ittle chance for the oppositional forces.

Rossiya TV Channel

The history of Rossiya TV Channel dates back to May of 1991. It is the second national channel, which covers almost all Russian territory and is received by 98.5% of Russian population. Over 50 million people living in the CIS countries and the Baltic States make the bedrock audience of the channel. Recently launched satellite broadcasting has helped to considerably increase the audience size. Today the channel is watched in Western Europe, Middle East and North Africa. The administration of the channel plans to expand the coverage to the USA.

News program “Vesti” has always been the key program of the channel. It has repeatedly been awarded as the best informational program in Russia. Feature films account for 35% of the all broadcasting time of the channel.

Rossiya TV Channel as well as Sports Channel and Culture Channel belong to The All-Russia State Television and Radio Company (VGTRK).

VGTRK is Russia’s biggest Media Corporation, which was established by the governmental Decree in 1990. VGTRK runs several TV channels and radio stations. Rossiya TV Channel is the major project of the corporation. In 1993 VGTRK became an active member of the European Broadcasting Union.

The next important decision made by the corporation on the initiative of Russian workers of culture headed by Dmitri Likhachev, Mstislav Rostropovich and Daniil Granin turned to be the creation of the All-Russian Channel Culture (Kultura). The new channel started broadcasting 1 November, 1997.

Today the corporation also owns Sport Channel, the first public state channel for kids and teenagers Bibigon, 89 regional TV companies, the Russia’s first around-the-clock Channel Vesti, Russian Version of Euronews Channel, three radio stations, etc.

Here's a weather forecast at Kultura TV Channel.


NTV Company was founded in 1993 and still maintains its status of the first federal privately-owned channel.

In 2012, TNS said NTV has overtaken Channel One in popularity for the first time in modern Russia.

The Russian audience of NTV exceeds 120 million people. Besides it is available in the CIS countries, Western Europe, the Middle East, the USA and Canada.

In the beginning, the channel used to focus on political programs criticizing the government. The changes occurred in 2001 with Gazprom Media’s decision to buy 46% of NTV’s stake. Many journalists were forced to give up their positions and move to other channels.

Today NTV has lost its excelllence and is widely regarded by the creative and educated lawyaer of the Russian people as a gutter media. After it ran a number of  commentary programs on the opposition, there've been calls for boycott. 

In December  2012, NTV announced a change of style, with a focus on a more intellectual audience, representing Russia's growing middle-class. It will get rid of some of the notorious programs and introduce new ones that will to cater to a younger audience.


REN TV, one of the biggest privately-owned TV channels of Russia, was based on REN TV Television Production Company and started broadcasting in 1997. REN TV network unites 825 independent broadcasters in Russia, the CIS and Baltic states. The potential audience of the Channel amounts to 120 million people.

REN TV’s programs are targeted at male audience of 25-54, having average or higher income and taking world positively. However, the channel is quite popular among women, since its news program expresses traditionally another point of view regarding daily political events, which is interesting for many educated people irrespective of gender.



TV Centre 

TV Centre is one of the leading Russian TV companies. The channel was founded in 1997.Today TV Centre programs are broadcast in all 83 constituent entities of the Russian Federation. Its potential audience exceeds 100 million people. The international version is received by residents of CIS Countries, the Baltic States, Eastern and Western Europe, Israel, the USA, Australia and New Zealand.


TV Centre is a Moscow channel, it reports about all variety of spiritual, intellectual, social, scientific, political, financial and economic life of the capital; at the same time its programs are addressed to the all population of Russia. TV Centre is among the top social and political broadcasters in the country.

The corporate style of the channel is timely programs on actual problems, reliable information, acute political journalism, high quality analytics, various documentary and kids broadcasting, the classics of home and foreign cinema.
TV Centreis developing actively, it expands its broadcasting area, modernizes its studios, and presents new projects, programs and series.
 99,2326 % of the JSC TV Centreis hold by Government of Moscow. The current General Director Alexander Ponomarev was appointed on December 29, 2005. Below is a 2013 New Year report.

CTC is a Russian federal channel, it started broadcasting on December 1, 1996 and it was the first private channel in Russia.
It belongs to the CTC Media, a Delaware-registered, Moscow-based NASDAQ-traded (CTCM) company with a market capitalization exceeding US$4 billion. The company is co-owned by National Media Group (Russia), Itera (Russia) and Modern Times Group (Sweden). CTC is a network of television stations. It is built as partnership with regional TV stations. There are more than 300 TV stations among its partners. CTC programs are distributed in 1137 towns and cities in Russia and attract 100 mln-audience.It ranks as the fourth most watched nationwide broadcaster in Russia overall.
CTC concept is “a classical entertaining channel”. It works mostly for a family audience, creating good mood and optimistic life position. The channel feature traits are entertaining, youth and non-politician.
CTC presents all kinds of TV entertainments genres which answer the modern world trends: Russian shows, animation, foreign and Russian series, foreign films.
CTC Media works with the leading Russian TV content production companies and airs both licensed series and sitcoms.
CTC Media maintains close working relationships with all the major Hollywood studios such as Columbia Tristar, Disney, Fox, MGM, Dream Works. It shows European and Hollywood films. “21 o’clock movie” is a CTC brand, which attracts great amount of TV-watchers, who like foreign movie, popular blockbusters and the most popular comedies.

Dozhd TV

Dozhd TV is an independent online channel launched on 27 April 2010 by Natalia Sindeyeva. Its editor-in-chief is journalist Mikhail Zygar, and its main slogan is 'a channel for people who care'.

Dozhd has become a safe haven for opposition journalism, providing a critical coverage of the parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia. It has repeatedly come under DDoS-attacks on the days of rallies.

It runs a lot of online shows and a few pre-recorded programmes. It also hosts a ten-minute news bulletin by the BBC Russian news service.


Launched on June 1, 2013, Friday replaced MTV Russia, offering new entertainment programming without trash, violence or politics.

According to ProfMedia TV Group, the new station will target a broad age group between 14 and 44.

In an interview with, its editor-in-chief Nikolay Kartosia explained the meaning behind the name of the channel.

"Friday is part of Russia's national identity. No matter how much passion you might have for your work, for five days you only exist. Your real life begins on Friday," he said.



Legal advice on Russian legislation


Olga Pletneva (updates by Irina Fomina and Mikhail Vesely)

Tags: Russian television Russian broadcasting Russian TV channels   

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