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WBD bans Russian TV channels from airing films

The Warner Bros. Studios logo is seen on a building along Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles, California on May 28, 2007. (Photo: Flickr user abgpt/Creative Commons)

Warner Bros Discovery is prohibiting a Russian media organization from airing Warner Bros films across any of its channels.

The edict was issued against the privately-held National Media Group, which operates several linear channels in Russia, including Channel One, Channel Five, CTC, Domashny and Ren TV.

The prohibition comes despite a licensing agreement between WarnerMedia — which was operated by AT&T until earlier this year — and National Media Group that allowed the media company to broadcast Warner Bros films across its channels through the end of 2023.

The prohibition was first reported Thursday by the website Kino Metro, which covers Russia’s film and broadcast industries.

The ban means National Media Group can’t broadcast a number of movies that are popular with the Russian population, including the Harry Potter and DC Comics series of films.

Warner Bros Discovery’s decision to ban a Russian media outlet from broadcasting their content continues a trend by Western companies of pulling their products and services from that country in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine earlier this year.

Other companies that have pulled their services from the Russian market include the Walt Disney Company, Sony, Netflix, Amazon, Paramount Global and Spotify.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).