NBC U opens TV arms in Asia, Russia

Move comes as demand for U.S. product increases

NBC Universal’s international TV arm is opening offices in Singapore and Russia, to be managed by Rajiv Dhawn and Maxim Mikhailov, respectively.

The move comes as demand for American product abroad kicks into a higher gear and as digital devices add a new layer to business dealings by the U.S. majors. It also comes on the eve of Mip TV in Cannes, the annual program sales bazaar that attracts 12,000 execs from around the world. The two hires will make their debut on the NBC U stand in the Cannes convention center.

The expansion and hires were unveiled Monday by NBC Universal Intl. Television Distribution prexy Belinda Menendez.

Dhawn has been named senior director, sales liaison, Asia, reporting to Haydn Arndt, VP of sales liaison for the division. Mikhailov has been named manager, sales liaison, reporting to Don McGregor, who is also a VP of sales liaison for the division.

The appointments are the latest additions to NBC U’s global TV footprint since the NBC and Universal merger, following the announcement of a new Munich office last October.

Further expansion will follow, with an outpost in Dubai slated to open in the coming months.

“We’re growing to meet the demands of an evolving and competitive marketplace,” Menendez told Daily Variety recently. “We’re seeing increasing interest in our product abroad — and there are many new platforms to get into business with.”

Dhawn will be responsible for overseeing the free and pay TV sales of NBC U programming in key territories within the Asia sector. He will work closely with Arndt to develop and implement sales strategies for the region.

Mikhailov will be responsible for overseeing the free and pay TV sales of NBC U programming in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the other Commonwealth of Independent States territories, working closely with McGregor on sales strategies for the region.

Dhawn joins NBC U from Carsey Werner Intl. (CWI) in Singapore, where he was VP, Asia Pacific, responsible for the sales and distribution of CWI titles in the Asia zone, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. In addition to English, Dhawn speaks Mandarin, Malay, Hindi and Punjabi.

Mikhailov joins NBC U from Russian Report, a TV distribution agency in Moscow, where he was deputy director general. Prior to Russian Report, Mikhailov was chief editor of sales, acquisitions and co-productions for Russia’s state-run broadcaster Rossija. In addition to English, he speaks Russian, French and German.