Magazine article Screen International

Disney Pacts with UTH for Russian TV Channel

Magazine article Screen International

Disney Pacts with UTH for Russian TV Channel

Article excerpt

Disney is expanding its reach in Russia through the recent establishment of a joint venture with UTH Russia, which will specialize in the production of films and TV series in Russian language as well as showing Disney's signature programming.

The companies are launching an ad-supported free-to-air Disney Channel in Russia which will reach 40m households.

Under the terms of the agreement, Disney, through one of its subsidiaries, will acquire a 49% stake in the Seven TV network from UTH Russia. The new Disney Channel will replace the current branding and programming of Seven TV.

Marina Zhigalova-Ozkan [pictured], head of Walt Disney Russia, will become CEO of the new venture.

According to her, the joint venture has already started production of youth television series After School, which is expected to start screening in autumn 2012.

In addition, next year the new joint venture will start production of a feature film, the details of which were not disclosed.

Zhigalova-Ozkan noted that Russia and the CIS are important markets for Disney, which have a separate development strategy, contrary to the global strategy of the company.

Ivan Tavrin, CEO, UTH Russia, said: "We believe that our partnership with The Walt Disney Company, the global entertainment leader, will establish a popular and highly successful free-to-air business. …

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