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New OTT service to launch in Russia

In Russia a new OTT service called MTS TV was announced by Mobile TeleSystems. According to TeleGeography, MTS is supposed to launch later this year. To create its OTT service, MTS teamed up with technology provider SPB TV. The service will offer 130 channels and on-demand movies and series content. It will be accessible on smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs, but is targeted at smart TV owners.

Smart TV manufacturer LG has partnered with MTS TV service and the company hopes more manufacturers will get on board. A spokesperson for MTS TV told TeleGography that Samsung and many other connected TV makers should be partners by the end of the year. MTS has a major focus on smart TVs because the technology is very popular in Russia. By 2017, around 30 million smart TVs will be in homes in Russia. 

According to Digital TV Europe, SPB TV provides MTS TV with content delivery network services as well as the video platform itself. This will allow for multiscreen access, Google Chromecast support, user profiles, personal profile recommendations and other features. 

The point of adding the OTT service to MTS's offerings is to gain new customers, according to Broadband TV News. MTS is one of the top three mobile operators in Russia and is the leading provider of pay-TV services. Its push to add OTT to its service offerings is a move to expand its customer base as new technology and TV services, such as Netflix, slowly creep towards Russia. While many established OTT services don't consider Netflix a threat, they would be another competitor in a increasingly crowded marketplace. 

"In Eastern Europe and Russia, Netflix is not deemed to be a threat."

Eventually more OTT services will come to Russia
In Eastern Europe and Russia, Netflix is not deemed to be a threat. Artem Zassoursky, CEO of the Russian VOD service Stream.ru, said that his company is not worried about Netflix coming to Russia

"We do not consider them a serious threat, because their brand is irrelevant in Russia. Moreover, we have much stronger ties with local content owners," Zassoursky told Digital TV Europe. 

Oleg Tumanov, founder and CEO of VOD service lvi.ru agrees with Zassoursky, listing the high level of piracy, the language, amount of local content, other OTT service providers already in Russia and the legal system as factors. 

Although Russia may be a challenge for Netflix, it is currently very successful in other parts of the world and will likely continue its expansion as times goes on. 

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