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Discovery to Stay in Russia with National Media Group Deal

Discovery shows like 'Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman' are popular in Russia

LONDON — Discovery Communications has secured the continued presence of its channels in Russia following the signing of an agreement with National Media Group to form Media Alliance, a limited liability company in compliance with Russian laws governing the ownership of media outlets by foreign companies.

Media Alliance will distribute the Discovery and Eurosport pay TV portfolio in Russia, and develop a regional free-to-air channel. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks, subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approval.

Media Alliance will distribute Discovery’s portfolio of 11 pay TV educational, scientific and factual channels, which are popular across Russia. Local favorites Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet are all market leaders in nonfiction content, while the newest addition to the Discovery family, Eurosport, is the leading pay TV sports channel in the market.

In recent years, Discovery has increased the number of local channels and productions in Russia. International hit shows include “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman,” “MythBusters” as well as the forthcoming “Racing Extinction,” which was recently featured at the Moscow International Film Festival.

“The agreement to form Media Alliance is a further example of Discovery’s global strategy to extend the reach of our high-quality content across all categories and platforms. We do this by building strong local teams whose media industry expertise allows us to identify new opportunities for building scale and propelling our growth in key markets,” said Kasia Kieli, president and managing director, Discovery Networks Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“With this arrangement, Discovery will keep providing Russian citizens with the scientific, educational and factual content that we have broadcast for 17 years,” said Olga Paskina, senior VP and country manager of Discovery Networks, North East Europe.

Paskina will take the position of Media Alliance general director in addition to her responsibilities for Discovery’s operations across North East Europe. She has extensive experience in strategic leadership and operational management, having previously held leadership positions in Russian and international companies.

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