Netflix Suspends Service in Russia Due to Escalating Ukraine Conflict

Netflix has suspended streaming service in Russia, citing the country’s ongoing military invasion of neighboring Ukraine, the subscription streaming VOD pioneer disclosed on March 7. The world’s largest SVOD ended the most-recent fiscal period with 74 million subscribers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which includes less than 1 million subs in Russia.

“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” the company said in a media statement.

Netflix had previously said it would not abide by a new media law in Russia that mandated foreign-owned companies carry state-run channels to their Russian service. The streamer reportedly has also suspended local-language productions, including “Zato,” a detective drama series.

Netflix ended 2021 with almost 222 million subs across 190 countries. The streamer does not operate in China, North Korea, Syria and Crimea — the latter annexed from Ukraine by Russia in 2014.

Benchmark analyst Matthew Harrigan said Netflix’s move would have a limited effect on the streamer’s sub count or financials in comparison to growing competition.

“The isolated financial effect [from the Russia suspension] is minimal,” Harrigan wrote in a March 7 note. “We view Netflix as first among equals rather than a dominant player. Competition from other streamers is now dampening member acquisition alongside the lingering Covid shadow.”

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