RTL expands Russian operation

Company buys 50% of Content Union

BERLIN — RTL Group is expanding its TV activities in Russia with a planned joint venture to produce, operate and distribute non-terrestrial TV channels in Russia and in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The pan-European broadcasting giant inked an agreement with Luxembourg-based Continental Finance Group to set up the joint venture.

As part of the deal, RTL will buy, for an undisclosed sum, 50% of Content Union, which include CFG’s four Russian channels, Russkiy Illusion, which airs Russian movies; Illusion Plus, which carries classic international pics; children’s web Detskiy; and animal channel Zoo Park.

The channels are also distributed via cable in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Georgia.

The joint venture will additionally serve as a distribution agent for third-party channels.

RTL is hoping the entrance in Russia’s nascent satellite and cable TV market will strengthen its presence in one of the fastest growing advertising markets.

In 2005, RTL acquired a 30% stake in terrestrial TV network Ren TV, which will continue to operate independently from the newly created joint venture.

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