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National Media Group completes deal for 80% of Viasat Russia

Olga Paskina

Olga Paskina

Russia’s National Media Group has completed a deal with Viasat World – the new brand for Modern Times Group’s international pay TV channels operation – to form a joint venture in which it will take majority control to distribute Viasat’s channels in the country.

National Media Group will own an 80% stake in the JV, bringing it into line with Russia’s strict new limits on foreign media ownership.

The venture will control all Viasat’s channels in Russia, including the Viasat Premium HD channels.

Viasat has 15 channels available in Russia, including TV1000, TV1000 Action, TV1000 Comedy HD, TV1000 Megahit HD, TV1000 Premium HD, TV1000 Russian Kino, Viasat Explore, Viasat Golf HD, Viasat History and Viasat Nature.

Olga Paskina, CEO of National Media Group, said that the Viasat World portfolio of channels had a leading presence in cinema and facrtual channels in Russia, and the JV was logical development of the company’s pay TV strategy, focused on factual, sprots and kids content.

The joint venture will be headed up by Alexei Krol, CEO of Viasat Channels Russia.

Russia’s Vi Target secured the exclusive rights to sell advertising on the Viasat channels in January.

Russia’s media law, which imposes a 20% ceiling on foreign media ownership, forced Modern Times Group to sell out of its free-to-air operation in Russia, CTC Media, earlier this year.