Walt Disney heads into Russia

Disney-branded television channel to air in territory after new joint venture.
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The Walt Disney Company and Media-One are forming a joint venture to launch a Disney-branded television channel in Russia.

The aim is to launch the new family-oriented entertainment channel on 30 stations throughout Russia currently owned and operated by Media-One. Anchored by Disney programming for kids and family, the channel also plans to air original Russian programming.

In addition, the joint venture also has plans to produce its own programs which will occupy more of the schudule as the company matures.

The launch of the predominately free to air network is slated for 2009, pending regulatory approval from Russian government authorities.

In return for a 49 per cent stake in the joint venture company, Disney will invest cash and provide programming and marketing expertise and content acquisition support.

Media-One will provide its knowledge and operational experience in the Russian market, its local broadcast station portfolio and its advertising sales expertise. Media-One will be the majority shareholder and will appoint a majority of the joint venture company's board of director.

"Russia is an extremely important market for Disney and this new Disney channel is a great way for us to expand our brand and business," said Robert Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company. "We are incredibly excited about bringing great Disney family entertainment and locally-produced content into the homes of millions of Russians."

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