Posts Tagged ‘Disney’
Disney to Launch Russia Channel
Walt Disney Co. said it reached a deal to start a Disney Channel in Russia, after more than three years of effort.
The new channel is to be a joint venture between Disney and UTH Russia, a media holding company. UTH’s Seven TV is to become Disney Channel. Disney will own 49% of the channel with UTH holding the other 51%.
Russia’s Interfax news agency said Disney was spending $300 million for its stake. Disney declined to discuss financial terms.
Russian regulators blocked a similar attempt in 2008, but gave their final blessing to the new deal after Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
UTH Russia is headed by CEO Ivan Tavrin. Mr. Tavrin was also CEO of Disney‘s partner in the planned 2008 venture, Media-One. Disney was to have invested an estimated $230 million for 49% of that venture.
“The  deal didn’t go through then for a variety of reasons,” Mr. Iger said in a telephone interview. “I’m not sure anyone knows exactly why.”
Mr. Iger added that the venture announced Thursday entailed “a significantly different kind of deal than the last one, in a variety of ways.” He didn’t elaborate.
The new channel will be broadcast over the air in 54 urban markets, starting early in 2012. An exact date wasn’t announced. The Russian channel is to be the 101st Disney Channel. The Russian channel is to be free to viewers and carry ads, unlike the U.S. basic-cable version of the channel.
Describing his meeting Thursday with Mr. Putin, Mr. Iger said: “He endorsed the parners that we’re working with and the strategy.”
Interfax reported that Mr. Putin told Mr. Iger: “I hope that your participation in the joint work will be useful from the business point of view and will be a positive start on the media market.”