Russia’s STS Television Network: A Cultural Window to the West
VIEW Journal Issue . 11 p. 81- 92
Perspectives on Russian television focus mainly on state controlled networks. Russia, however, also has several important commercial televisions stations to whom little attention has been given. The most important of these stations is the entertainment network STS. The station was founded in 1996 when a subscription station AMTV merged with Saint Petersburg based broadcaster Channel Six and several regional stations to form Russia’s fifth national broadcaster. After airing primarily Hollywood and Latin American series in the 1990s, the station began to produce Russian language series in 2003. Today the station is one of the most important entertainment brands in the former Soviet Union. This paper traces the history of STS and its importance in bringing new genres and production techniques to Russia. It also maps the network’s explosive growth in the 2000s and its relationship with major Hollywood studios, most notably Sony. The influence of the station’s two most important executives Alexander Rodanyansky and Vyacheslav Murugov is also examined. The paper then theorizes on what STS’ current strategy may yield and what its current programs suggest about the changing nature of the Russian television market in an increasingly politicized environment.