BBC Worldwide inks Russian VOD deals

Rostelecom, ivi.ru take 500 hours of programs

BBC Worldwide has sold 500 hours of content to Russian VOD platforms, illustrating the growing importance of digital services to distributors, especially those with big libraries — and BBC Worldwide has 50,000 hours of fare.

Pact also shows how advertising-rich, non-Western media outfits are becoming important buyers.

Worldwide sold 200 hours to Russian national operator Rostelecom (including natural history series “Life” and “Planet Earth”) and 300 hours to ivi.ru (including”The Mighty Boosh” and “Sherlock”) to help drive a new subscription service due to bow in January.

Steve Macallister, BBC Worldwide’s managing director of global TV sales, said. “We’ve reached a tipping point in digital. VOD is taking off. Ten percent of our revenues — around $40 million — will come from deals involving digital in the current financial year.”

He said 23 of the top 50 broadband markets are at 50% penetration or higher.

Earlier this year, Worldwide sold Brit drama “Misfits” to Hulu, and it is doing well. ” ‘Misfits’ hits the sweet spot for VOD audiences, which tend to be under 35,” Macallister said.

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