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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

ORT Voices Fears Over New Station

State-owned Russian Public Television, or ORT, expressed concern Tuesday that a new private nationwide television station to start next year would decrease the role of state television and cut into its own advertising revenues.

A private Russian television production company, Ren TV, announced plans for a fifth nationwide network to start Jan. 1, but ORT head of foreign and political affairs, Alexei Pushkov, said that this might have difficult consequences for his organization.

"Like in many other countries, state [television] companies are going to acquire a much more specific role," Pushkov said.

He said pressure on ad revenues could force the government to provide more direct support to state-owned television. "Of course it's bad news in that it means less ads for us but I don't think that any Russian government will negate its participation in our activities."

Tatyana Blinova, a spokeswoman for NTV Independent Television, Russia's other major private national network, said it was too early to worry about a threat from the new competition.

"This is no competition for us because the new channel is just appearing," Blinova said. "We wish them the best of luck."

Ren TV, once a major supplier of programs to ORT, plans to produce more than three quarters of its own shows, which will range from serials to game-shows feature films, documentaries, sport shows and talk shows.

Programming on Ren TV will include a broad range of shows aimed at "people with a higher education, a strong political and personal understanding of life and strong principles," said spokeswoman Yelena Karayeva.

"It's true that in this way we may be quite similar to NTV but we aim to be very clever about choosing the right time to broadcast the right programs," she added.

The biggest difference between NTV and other stations, Karayeva said, is the new channel's focus on regional differences. News programs, for example, will be specific to each region.

Ren TV formed a partnership in May this year with Independent Broadcasting System, or NVS, which unites 47 local Russian television companies to organize syndicated programming.

REN TV will be broadcast across Russia by satellite to regional television stations from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. The regional television stations will rebroadcast its signal but reserve one and a half hours of prime time for their own use daily.