Disney is gaining ground in the Russian TV market, having signed a deal with UTH Russia to launch an ad-supported free-to-air Disney Channel in the country as early as next year.
The channel is expected to reach 40 million households and will feature Disney signature programming as well as original Russian content.
The deal sees Disney buying a 49% stake in the Seven TV network from UTH Russia, and as such, the new Disney Channel will replace the current branding and programming of Seven TV. Disney Channel will air on broadcast stations in 54 large urban markets, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as hundreds of rural and remote cities and towns nationwide through other distribution agreements.
The pact marks a large step for Disney in terms of cracking the lucrative Russian market. The House of Mouse first introduced Disney Channel Russia as a cable channel last year.