Musicvid chan, Biz to b'cast in Moscow, St. Petersberg

MTV’s previously announced entry into Russia will become a reality Sept. 25 when Viacom’s musicvid channel begins broadcasting in the Moscow and St. Petersburg markets.

The ad-supported network will provide original programming for Russia in partnership with Moscow-based BIZ Enterprises, marking the first time a Western TV network has been customized for a Russian audience.

A staff in Moscow will determine the playlist, which in turn will be presented by Russian VJs. The list’s anticipated mix will be half international, such as U2, Bjork and Madonna, and half local acts, such as Mumiy Trol, Splin and DJ Groove.

MTV, already available in 85 countries, will also treat its target audience of 12-to-34-year-old urban Russians to local versions of “MTV Unplugged” and the MTV Video Music Awards.

Although the Russian economy doesn’t appear to be in a condition to deliver an immediate payout, MTV can afford to wait. Parent company Viacom reported last week that MTV Networks increased its cash flow — or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — 16% to $147 million in the second quarter as revenues soared 25% to $416 million.

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