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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

ORT TV To End Ads Moratorium

Russian Public Television, or ORT, will end a four-month moratorium on advertising on Aug. 1, according to the company's management, which says it has worked out a new advertising policy and set new criteria for accepting commercials.

"No television company can live without advertising," said Alexei Pushkov, ORT's director of public and international relations.

ORT, a semi-privatized company in which the government holds 51 percent of the stock, took over Channel One from the wholly state-owned Ostankino on April 1. At the time, ORT enforced a temporary ban on advertising, to give it time to reorganize the company's system of dealing with advertisers.

"We had a very complicated advertising structure," said Pushkov. "There was no central point -- various studios were signing their own contracts with advertisers, and there was no unified advertising policy."

The company has developed a new policy, he added, and has created a company within ORT to handle the business. It has also designed new criteria for advertisements: ORT will give preference to Russian-produced ads, rather than showing mainly Western spots.

"Western ads are not always accessible to Russians," said Pushkov. "And sometimes they are not quite decent."

While much has been done to improve the chaotic structure of advertising on ORT, Pushkov said there are still details to be worked out. "We will have to make many adjustments," he said. "But I think that our new policy will allow us to improve on the old situation."

During the four-month hiatus, ORT has been living on handouts from the state budget, as well as money from investors. The company is partially funded by a consortium of private banks and companies, which controls 40 percent of the stock.

The question of advertising on ORT has been a delicate one, since it is associated with the March 1 murder of television journalist Vladislav Listyev.

Listyev had been appointed director of ORT, and it was his decision to impose the ban on advertising. At the time of his death, it was widely speculated that the murder was connected with powerful advertising interests, disgruntled by Listyev's decision to close them down.

Listyev's murder remains unsolved.