Russian nets kick in $65 mil for WB fare

NTV, RTR, CTC to share costs of multiyear package

A correction was made to this article on July 31, 2003.

In a sign that Eastern Euro markets are picking up, Warner Bros. has closed a megabuck TV licensing deal with three Russian broadcasters worth $12 million a year all told, likely a record for that territory. Deal purportedly begins in 2004 and runs through 2009.

Pact involves the Hollywood studio’s “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” franchises as well as a handful of upcoming fall series and some library titles.

The complex arrangement brings together three Russian networks — lead participant NTV plus RTR and CTC, which will share the costs of the multiyear package and split windows on some of the product. Deal first came to light in January but took months to piece together.

London-based sales execs for Warner Bros. Intl. Television Distribution Simon Kenny and Tim Horan were instrumental in putting together the deal.

NTV is licensing “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Blade 2” and “Collateral Damage” as well as reruns of pics like “Eraser” and “The Fugitive.” In addition, the broadcaster has picked up rights to upcoming primetime series like “OC,” “Cold Case,” “Fearless,” “Tarzan” and “Two and a Half Men.” Net will have follow-up rights to “Lord of the Rings.”

RTR has secured first broadcast rights to “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings,” while CTC has inked for second-run rights to both.

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