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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Channel 1 Reduces Daytime Broadcasts

Russia's largest television station has had to cut daytime broadcasting due to lack of funds, according to the deputy director of programming.


Viktor Oskolkov of Ostankino's Channel 1 said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the state-financed television company had cut programming by 4.5 hours per day beginning July 1. This reduces the number of hours Channel 1 is on the air to 15.


"We just do not have any money," said Oskolkov.


The state, which provides Ostankino with the major portion of its operating expenses, cut back funding on July 1, according to Oskolkov. The company had no choice but to adjust its broadcasting schedule accordingly.


Oskolkov said that the programming staff had tried to minimize the effect the cuts would have on viewers by shutting off much of its daytime broadcasting -- from 11 A.M to 4 P.M., and leaving its morning and evening news programs, as well as the evening entertainment schedule, untouched. But complaints are, he said, starting to come in.


"We do not want to lose our audience," said Oskolkov. "We would like to restore full programming as soon as possible."


Oskolkov maintained that advertising revenues were simply not sufficient to keep up with the rising costs of running a television company. Approximately 80 percent of the station's budget, he said, goes to the Communications Ministry to pay the costs of transmitting Ostankino's signal throughout the huge territory of the Russian Federation. This leaves very little for producing shows, buying movies, and paying workers.


Independent television stations like the newly-created NTV have a much lower overhead, said Oskolkov, since they broadcast to a smaller viewing population over a much smaller territory.


"We also produce many more shows," he said. "Look at their programming -- it's mostly movies."


According to Oskolkov, Ostankino is taking measures to increase its revenues from advertising. For one thing, he said, individual studios at Ostankino would no longer deal with advertisers directly, as had been the case in the past. Instead, a joint stock company, Reklama Holding, has been created to deal with the problem.


"We will sell all of our advertising time to this company," he said, "and they will deal with the individual advertisers."


Oskolkov denied recent allegations that advertising revenues were being siphoned out of Ostankino's coffers.


"Things are much more complicated than that," he laughed. "No one is stealing this money."