On 3 July 2016 the Russian President signed into law a bill amending the Law on Mass Media and Advertising Law (the “Law“), which restricts foreign ownership in TV audience measurement businesses to 20%.
The Law provides that TV audience measurements may be carried out exclusively by organizations authorized by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (the “Roskomnadzor“) which shall submit annual research reports to Roskomnadzor as well as place such reports on their websites (the “Authorized Organizations“). Antitrust restrictions are not applicable to Authorized Organizations and the term of their license is limited to three years.
Authorized Organizations shall be selected by a committee appointed by Roskomnadzor in compliance with a specific procedure before 1 January 2017. Such committee is to include representatives of TV broadcasting organizations.
The Law, most importantly, provides that the following persons may not act as an Authorized Organization:
- foreign state, international organization or entity under their control;
- foreign legal entity;
- Russian legal entity with more than 20% of foreign ownership. From 1 September 2017 advertisers must use the TV audience measurements obtained under agreements with Authorized Organizations when placing advertisements based on TV audience measurement data.
- The restriction extends to any form of control by the above persons and foreign citizens, stateless individuals or Russian citizens with a dual citizenship over an Authorized Organization which may result in the possibility to directly or indirectly own, manage, control an Authorized Organization or de facto determine the decisions of such Authorized Organization.