MOSCOW — Russian holding company CTC Media has taken a 20% stake in Kazakhstan’s Channel 31, as well as majority ownership of related companies providing ad sales and programming content for the station, the fourth largest in the increasingly prosperous Central Asian territory.
Based in Almaty, Channel 31 has been broadcasting since 1992, with a network comprising 11 stations, and about 60 independent affiliate stations. Audience share in the second half of 2007 averaged 7.1%.
Nasdaq-listed CTC Media expects to start broadcasting in the its format on Channel 31 by the end of March. The next expansion from the outfit is skedded to be a start-up TV channel in Uzbekistan — almost certainly a trickier territory to break into — where CTC Media has been sounding out opportunities.
“We continue to view the countries of the former Soviet Union as attractive strategic opportunities for CTC Media. We plan to continue to execute on our expansion strategy by extending the reach of our brands to other markets in the region that are poised for robust growth and where Russian content is a proven success with audiences,” said CTC Media CEO Alexander Rodnyansky on Friday.