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Digital TV Russia plans to launch 3 channels in India

MUMBAI: After signing an MoU with
the Indian pubcaster Prasar Bharati to
jointly produce, market and distribute
shows, Russian pay TV programmer
Digital Television Russia (DTR) is now
looking to enter the Indian market.
The company plans to launch a kids
channel first, followed by a factual
entertainment channel and a movie
channel, depending on market
DTR, which is jointly owned by All-
Russia State Television and Radio
Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) and
Rostelecom OJSC, will soon apply for
broadcasting licences, DTR chairman
of the board and Russia Television and
Radio deputy CEO and chief
development officer Dmitry Mednikov
told TelevisionPost.com.
Talking about the plans, which are in
a nascent stage right now, Mednikov
said, “We are one of the biggest
libraries of kids and preschool
content. We have already started
dubbing content in English and Hindi,
and would be looking at launching a
kids channel first in India. We will
soon initiate the licence process.”
He added that the second channel is
going to be a factual channel. “It is
going to be a mix of multiple
productions—Indian, international,
and our own. The third stage is a
Russian movie channel. But we will see
whether and how it is interesting for
the India viewer as traditional
moviemaking in Russia and India is
quite different.”
When asked when the company would
be ready to launch the channels in
India, Mednikov said that the kids
channel should be ready for launch
next year. “I think the kids channel
will come up next year. We will see
how the kids channel is growing,” he
DTR puts a lot of emphasis on research
and different research technologies.
“We create hundreds of pages of
research every month to concentrate
on the market, what they want, how
we can provide better content. If
everything goes as per the plan, we
should start one channel every year.”
Business model
Though subscription revenues cover 80
per cent of pay channel revenues in
Russia, only 20 per cent come from
advertising. When asked if the
channels would be subscription-driven
or ad-supported, DTR deputy CEO, GM
of international networks Ayuna
Badmaeva said that these would be pay
channels but with accessible pricing.
“We are comfortable with 80 per cent
from advertising and 20 per cent from
subscription as we are bringing
premium content at accessible
pricing,” she added. “We are looking
to build strong partnerships in
production, distribution, as well as ad
“For us, it is important that any
family in Russia or India should be able
to afford the channel and that it
should be accessible to children,”
Mednikov added.
Though both Mednikov and Badmaeva
did not divulge the quantum of
investment that DTR will be making in
India for the channels, Mednikov
added that it would be in “several
million dollars”.
“We are here for the long term and
not interested in easy money. We are
interested in long-term partnerships
with Indian media companies. We will
be investing not just in channels, but
also in production. Whatever money we
earn, we will invest it back in India
for local content, which we might
take to other markets,” Mednikov
Talking about the content on kids
channels, Mednikov said that DTR is
keen on what the audiences are going
to get from our channels. “It’s not
just entertainment. We have
expertise on preschool content on
educating children. We are trying to
create a channel where parents can
leave their three-year-old children in
front of TV and rest assured that
they are learning safely,” he added.
With respect to the Indian market, he
said that the company is very happy
that the Indian market is
entertainment-driven. “We are very
happy that the Indian market is
focused on entertainment. It is
impossible and useless to work in a
market where all the good is done.
You are not inventing or bringing
anything new—what you are trying
to do is to push your competitor out
where they are successful. This is
senseless work.”
He said that it is great that factual
content and local kids content are not
as concentrated as entertainment.
“Because this is where we are happy
to bring our expertise to this
market,” he added.
On the movie channel front, Mednikov
informed that apart from producing
films, DTR is also a big acquirer of
Russian films.
“We hold the rights to 90 per cent of
movies and series in Russia. Along
with our mother company, we produce
about 30 per cent of them,” he added.
“We want to bring these movies to
India, but are not sure how Indians
will respond to Russian movie
DTR launched its first channel My
Planet in late 2009 in Russia. Today,
it produces and distributes 21 pay TV
brands in kids, factual entertainment,
movies, sports and general
entertainment genres, and commands
almost 29 per cent of the overall pay
TV market share in Russia.

Digital TV Russia plans to launch 3 channels in India

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