Russian TV giant agrees online deal

State TV company to share ad revenue

MOSCOW — Russia’s state television holding company VGTRK has struck a content streaming deal with one of the country’s largest Internet portals to share advertising revenue in return for allowing its shows to be aired online.

The groundbreaking deal follows a court case brought by VGRK against Mail.ru over unlicensed use of content on video hosting sites operated by the Internet portal.

The agreement settles that case and lays the ground for future deals with other Internet portals.

VGRK — which runs flagship state channel Rossiya, culture, news, sports and children’s frequencies, as well as two radio stations and a worldwide service RTR Planeta — will allow Mail.ru to host popular drama series, news and other content in return for a share advertising revenue raised from the content streaming.

Watching television content on Internet hosting sites is growing in popularity in Russia. Mail.ru is thought to have a weekly audience of some 1.7 million for its video hosting service.

Dmitry Mednikov, editor in chief of VGTRK news channel Vesti, said the state TV holding wanted the Mail.ru agreement to become an industry standard and it planned to start discussions with other video hosting and social networking sites.

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