and BURBANK, Calif., October 27, 2011 - The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:
DIS) and UTH Russia, one of the country's fastest growing media
companies, announced today that the two companies will launch an
ad-supported free-to-air Disney Channel in Russia early next year. The
broadly-distributed channel will appeal to families throughout Russia by
featuring Disney's popular signature programming, as well as original
the terms of the agreement, Disney, through one of its subsidiaries,
will acquire a 49% stake in the Seven TV network from UTH Russia. The
new Disney Channel will replace the current branding and programming of
Seven TV. At launch it will reach approximately 40 million households, which represents more than 75% of the measured audience in Russia. Disney
Channel will air on broadcast stations in 54 large urban markets,
including Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as hundreds of rural and
remote cities and towns nationwide through other distribution
expansion is a key strategic priority for our company and Disney
Channel has proven to be invaluable in building the Disney brand around
the world," said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney
Company. "We are excited about increasing Disney Channel's presence in
Russia and delivering exceptional family entertainment to this important
Channel became one of the most popular and beloved cable channels in
Russia," said Marina Jigalova-Ozkan, managing director for The Walt
Disney Company in Russia. "We are very happy that together with such a
reliable and respectful partner as UTH Disney will bring high-quality
family entertainment to every family in Russia."
Tavrin, CEO, UTH Russia, said: "We believe that our partnership with
The Walt Disney Company, the global entertainment leader, will establish
a popular and highly successful free-to-air business. The superb
infrastructure and technical foundation of UTH in combination with
Disney's unique brand and global expertise will deliver excellent
results for the Disney Channel in Russia. Seven TV's transformation
from sports to general entertainment in 2010 helped us to significantly
improve its ratings and financial results, now it is time for a new page
in the network's history. I am confident about the success of the
Disney Channel and our long term partnership with The Walt Disney
on the transaction, Alisher Usmanov, a UTH shareholder and major
Internet and media investor in Russia, said, "We expect the family
channel combining the best Disney programming with original Russian TV
shows will be of great interest to the audience. We are excited that our
partner, one of the world's largest media companies, believes in the
Russian market and our company."
Disney Channels Worldwide is comprised of 100 channels in 35 languages reaching 325 million unduplicated households globally.
The deal closing is subject to the satisfaction of contractual conditions, including certain regulatory filings.
About The Walt Disney CompanyThe
Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a
leading diversified international family entertainment and media
enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and
resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media.
Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of more than $38
billion in its most recent fiscal year.
About UTH Russia
Russia is one of the fastest growing media companies in Russia today.
Its main assets are the MUZ and Seven TV national channels. UTH
broadcasts in more than 800 towns and localities in Russia and reaches
the majority of the measured television audience of the Russian
Federation. UTH was established following the merger of Media One
Holdings Limited's and Art Finance & Media Limited's television
assets in August 2009.