Indian TV channel to start broadcasts in Russia

April 19th, 2008 - 5:44 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of National Geographic
RIA Novosti
Moscow, April 19 (RIA Novosti) Indian channel Zee TV plans to open an office in Russia and start satellite or cable broadcasts in Russian by the end of 2008, a Russian business daily has said. Zee TV will be the first foreign television company to operate directly in the Russian market rather than dealing via a distributor, despite a requirement that the controlling stake in foreign TV broadcasters belong to a Russian resident, Russian daily Kommersant said Friday.

Initial investment in the project is expected at about $7 million. The channel plans to show Indian movies and programmes about the country to be made and translated at its studio in Mumbai, the paper said citing a businessman engaged in cooperation talks.

Zee TV is expected to open its branch in December, the daily said citing a source in Sistema Mass Media (SMM), a leading player on the Russian pay-TV market.

Zee TV’s representative in Russia Surab Shom and SMM Deputy General Director Artyom Kudryavtsev confirmed cooperation talks to the daily, saying that the Indian company was trying to obtain a broadcasting licence for a 24-hour channel.

Russian experts quoted by the newspaper said the channel is likely to be a success.

“Indian movies have been always popular in Russia, but there are no channels to promote them in the market,” Natalia Pavlenkova from Tandberg, a video conferencing and audio and video content company, told the newspaper.

India TV, which broadcasts on Russia’s NTV+ satellite channels, has gained seven million viewers in Russia since it was launched in July 2006, Kommersant said.

India TV revenue could be now about $2 million a year after two years in the market, according to Stream Content head Nikolai Zatsepin quoted by the paper.

Russia’s pay-TV market hit $650 million in 2007, growing by 30 percent from the previous year, and its advertising segment exceeded $26 million, up 28 percent, Kommersant said, citing the Discovery Research agency.

All foreign satellite channels work in Russia via distributors due to a Russian law requiring that 51 percent in a foreign television company working in the country be held by a Russian resident.

National Geographic is represented in the country by Telco Group, and Discovery Channel and Animal Planet by Media Broadcasting Group.

Kommersant said Shom did not reveal Zee TV’s partner in Russia. Zee TV, which broadcasts in Russia in Hindi via Kosmos TV satellite television operator, has some 2,000 subscribers in the country, the paper said.
RIA Novosti

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