Television

Disney Channel to launch in Russia

MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Co has formed a joint venture with Media-One Holdings, which owns and operates 30 TV stations across Russia, to launch a free-to-air television channel in the country in 2009.


Apart from showcasing popular Disney shows like Hannah Montana" and "Wizards of Waverly Place dubbed in Russian, the channel will also be anchored by original Russian programming.



As a part of the deal, Disney, which holds a 49 per cent stake in the channel, will supply cash and programming along with expertise in content acquisition and marketing to kids and families.



Presently, the deal must receive regulatory approval from Russia, which requires foreign investors to have Russian partners.



According to Walt Disney International chairman Andy Bird, since the cable and satellite television audience is limited in Russia, the new channel will be broadcast over the airwaves for free in most of the country. However, in cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg the channel will be delivered by cable. Thus, the channel could reach approximately 75 per cent of Russian television viewers.



Earlier, Disney had formed a joint venture with Sony Pictures Releasing International to distribute films in Russia.

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