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Viacom to relaunch MTV Russia as former partners debut new channels

MTVViacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is to re-launch the Russian version of MTV. The move follows the ending of its partnership with local media group ProfMedia late last year.

The new MTV Russia will feature a mix of international and local shows, with the mix reflecting the results of a survey conducted by VIMN that showed that 90% of the local target audience enjoy US shows, while 75% enjoy UK content and 58% like music programming. A smaller proportion – 38% – have a preference for reality shows.

Shows on the channel will include Jersey Shore, The Hills, the all-new Beavis and Butthead and the Video Music Awards. MTV Russia will also schedule music programming during daytime and post-peak, mixing music videos from local and international artists, global video premieres and live music. MTV intends to conduct a talent search to discover a new presenter and ‘face’ of MTV Russia to launch the channel.

MTV will launch a website for MTV Russia on June 1. The HD version of the channel will launch in October.

“By taking full editorial and management control of MTV, we aim to strengthen its presence in the Russian market, which is a global priority for Viacom,” said David Lynn, VIMN UK’s executive vice-president and managing director. “The new-look MTV Russia will be much more closely aligned to the MTV brand globally – offering young Russians the full MTV brand experience, which is so popular with their counterparts in other countries.”

Elena Balmont, general manager, VIMN Russia, said: “MTV has unrivalled insight into youth audiences around the world; we know young Russians have much the same interests as young people the world over and have the same desire to be part of a global youth culture. We’re confident that the new-look MTV Russia will be a destination of choice across multimedia for young Russians, in the same way as it is for young audiences elsewhere.”

The existing MTV Russia, which has been broadcast under licence, will cease to air from today, and VIMN’s former partner Profmedia will launch of its own entertainment channel as a replacement.

Russia’s Vedomosti reported earlier this month that Profmedia, which is ultimately owned by Russian tycoon Vladimir Potanin, had borrowed RUB1.64 billion (€40 million) in February to finance the channel, to be called Pyatnitsa.

Profmedia president Olga Paskina was reported as saying the group planned to spend a total of US$100 million (€78 million) over the next two years on developing the channel. The channel was expected to take over the former MTV Russia’s frequency.

The existing MTV Ukraine meanwhile, whose licence was held by commercial broadcaster Inter Media Group, will change its name to Zoom on June 1.

Zoom will broadcast a mix of music, world and national showbiz news, programmes about celebrities and various entertainment shows.

“For my generation the MTV brand was a significant phenomenon in the youth subculture for many years. But the years pass by, audience preferences, music and TV trends change. And we have to admit, that MTV brand doesn’t work any more in our country,” said Sergey Dem’yanchuk, head of niche channels at Inter Media Group. “Nevertheless, there is a need of existing of youth-oriented channel. Now this channel is called Zoom, which we’re going to develop, buying high-quality content from the world’s top TV producers and increasing the amount of programmes of own production. Ukrainian viewers, from one side, and domestic advertising market, from the other, are in need of having their own strong music TV brand. I’m sure that Zoom has all the chances to have a strong position in this niche and become closer and clearer to our audience”.

Tags: MTV, Russia