Apple TV+ could be banned in Russia if it grows too popular

For all Mankind on Apple TV+
For all Mankind on Apple TV+ (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Russia has new laws coming into play next year that could affect Apple.
  • One existing law could see Apple TV+ banned if it gets too popular.
  • No foreign streaming service is allowed more than 50% of the market.

We already know that Apple could be forced to install Russian apps on iPhones following the passing of new Russian law, but things could get even worse. If Apple TV+ gets too popular it could be banned in the country altogether.

According to The Hollywood Reporter (via Cult of Mac) Russia's laws won't allow any foreign streaming service to have a market share higher than 50%. The law is supposed to help protect Russian businesses.

But Russian firm tvzavr doesn't seem too concerned by the arrival of Apple TV+.

Since its launch, Apple TV+ has kept a low profile, which apparently satisfies local streaming services."At this point, we don't see Apple TV+ as a competitor, since they have a totally different content policy and audience," Elena Khlebnikova, content director at the online video service tvzavr, told THR. "As we know, the service doesn't offer content dubbed into Russian, which probably means that they don't expect a substantial audience at the initial stage, as Russian viewers are mostly not used to subtitled content."

If Apple TV+ does run foul of the law it could potentially be kicked out of Russia completely, as could competitors like Netflix. So far neither company has made too much noise about its Russian subscriber numbers. And this law could be the reason behind that.

Apple TV+ went live in Russia on November 1 and costs RUB 200 ($3.20). That makes it less costly than in the United States, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.