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Disney to launch Russian TV channel

17 декабря 2008

Walt Disney is to launch a free-to-air television channel in Russia as it seeks to strengthen its position in one of the world’s fastest growing media markets.

The group has formed a joint venture with Media-One, a Russian broadcaster that operates 30 stations in the country. Disney will provide content while the channel will also broadcast original Russian programming.

The move is part of an international strategy that has seen Disney increase its local production efforts in emerging markets.

Disney will invest cash and provide programming and marketing support in return for a 49 per cent stake in the Russian television venture. Media-One will provide its portfolio of stations and advertising sales expertise. The Russian company will be the majority shareholder and will also appoint a majority of the joint venture company’s board of directors.

The launch of the new channel is contingent on the two companies receiving clearance from regulatory authorities in Russia.

“We believe that the combination of Disney’s unparalleled media experience and content capabilities and our knowledge of the local television market will enable us to create a unique channel that is predestined for success,” said Ivan Tarin, chief executive of Media-One.

Bob Iger, Disney’s chief executive, said Russia was an “extremely important market” for the company. He said the new channel was a “great way for us to expand our brand and business”.

The Disney Channel, Disney’s family television brand and home to Hannah Montana and the High School Musical franchises, is usually only available as part of a cable or satellite subscription.

However, the company recently launched a free-to-air experiment in Spain, with the channel available free to homes with digital television. It is expected to try the free-to-air model in other countries that have a high level of digital television penetration.

The Russian channel launch forms part of a strategy that has seen Disney try to produce more content that it is relevant to international markets.

The group recently began shooting The Book of Masters, its first feature film to be produced in Russia, and is also making films in China and India with local partners.

Roadside Romeo, its first animated movie aimed at the Indian market was released recently and brought the company its best performance for an animated movie in the country, outgrossing the entire Indian take for the The Incredibles in its first four days on release.

Disney is also making its first foray into Arabic filmmaking with a movie that it will produce and distribute across the Middle East to tap into growing demand in that region for family entertainment.

Источник: Financial Times

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