Paramount Plans to End Channel, Content Licensing in Russia – Amid a flurry of sanctions against Russian financial institutions and businesses, Paramount CEO Bob Bakish announced that he will end the distribution of linear channels from the multinational entertainment content and cut some content licensing deals in the country too.
The Paramount Global media conglomerate, which was formed in a re-merger of the CBS Corporation and Viacom, has faced pressure to implement its own boycott of the Russian market as other major brands choose to cut ties with the country.
In an internal memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Bakish said that the company is “taking a series of steps to suspend [its] operations in Russia, including pausing the supply of Paramount Global content.”
“We are also making a $1 million donation to support humanitarian relief. In addition to the corporate donation, employees are encouraged to directly help those in need as this humanitarian crisis unfolds,” he said.
Those steps will reportedly include the already-announced delay of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and The Lost City, two productions from Paramount Pictures. The canceling of some content licensing deals will be determined based on existing contractual obligations.
Netflix Already Suspended Services Last Week
Earlier this month, online TV and movie streaming service Netflix announced that it would pause all future projects for the Russian market and any acquisitions of Russian shows and movies. Soon after, Netflix announced that it had also suspended services in Russia entirely, in protest against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” a Netflix spokesperson said.
The platform also announced that it would not air 20 Russian propaganda channels that it was technically required to air on its platform under Russian law.
Netflix is still somewhat new to Russia, launching in the country in 2016. However, with only around one million subscribers – out of 222 million subscribers globally – the decision to withdraw from the market hurts Russian consumers more than it does Netflix.
Hollywood Blocks Future Releases
Warner Bros movie studio also announced at the beginning of March that the release of The Batman will be paused in Russia, with Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Co also announcing that they would pause the release of their own new movies in the country too. Every major Hollywood studio was set to debut significant new releases.
“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Warner Media is pausing the release of its feature film ‘The Batman’ in Russia,” a Warner Bros representative said. “We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy.”
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.
March 16, 2022 at 2:46 pm
Well, it’s all over. Now Russia is definitely the end. Given that 90% of Russians purchase software, games, films through non-licensed channels. Here is the blow. That’s what I understand – tough!
March 19, 2022 at 5:15 pm
There are more online services and social networks in Russia than in the USA, the problem is not big!