Russian Television and Time Zones

There are eleven time zones in Russia. How does TV broadcasting work for each region?

The Russian and foreign TV companies have to adapt their work to the realities of the world-largest country that officially has eleven time zones since 2014. It is up to each TV channel to choose its own type of broadcasting.

Sundial

Sundial. By Alexey Ivanov (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Time zones in Russia

Russia is a very large country. When it is midday in one of its parts – the Far East (Kamchatka Krai and Chukotka Autonomous Okrug), it is hardly midnight in the other – European Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast).

For the sake of convenience each Russian region has its own time zone regardless of its total size.

However, it was not always like this.

How do major news broadcasters work?

Major TV companies divide their newscasts into two blocks – federal news and local news.

Federal news are pre-recorded and then shown consequently with one-hour difference in all eleven time zones of Russia.

For instance, you can watch the Russian President’s New Year address eleven times if you change the settings of your digital video broadcast via a cable or a satellite channel. In case you have access only to on-air terrestrial broadcasting, you cannot alter the default settings.

If there is some breaking news, the viewers living in certain time zones will watch it in the current newscast. The others have already seen this broadcast and will hear about this news in the next program. In case of some emergency the information will be delivered in a special report.

The second block of any newscast is local news. It is made by regional TV companies and is broadcasted on-air.

Making local news for each time zone is quite expensive, that is why TV companies can create conjoint newscasts for several time zones at once.

The citizens living in some remote territories (for examples, Siberian villages) can even watch the programs broadcasted in other time zones because their signal is stable.

How do entertainment TV channels work?

The Russian and foreign TV companies work out distinct schedules of movies and entertaining programs for each time zone. However, close time zones can have the same schedule.

Unique Novosibirsk

The largest Siberian city Novosibirsk is located on the opposite banks of the Ob River.

In the past time zones in Russia were determined in accordance with geographical location rather than administrative division. As a result, a half of Novosibirsk situated on the right bank of the Ob River was in one time zone, while the other half on the left bank fell into another time zone.

For a long time this time peculiarity had not been a problem since Novosibirsk did not have a bridge to connect its two parts. What is more interesting, people who were living on the opposite river banks hardly entered a marriage!

TV channels could be set either from the right or the left bank of Novosibirsk regarding people’s preferences.

Later a bridge crossed the Ob River and connected two parts of the city. After that Novosibirsk got one time zone.

Today many Russians have a technical capability to watch regular news broadcasts, as well as newscasts from different time zones.

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