Disney Invades Russia

18 December 2008

LONDON: 'Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country,' said Lenin in 1920. Eighty-eight years later the begetter of Mickey Mouse and High School Musical delivered a symbolic riposte: 'Capitalism is US power plus the Disneyfication of the whole country'.

In a joint venture with Russian broadcaster Media-One, the Walt Disney Company will provide content via The Disney Channel, which will also broadcast original Russian programming.

In addition to content, Disney will invest cash and marketing support in return for a 49% stake in the Russian television venture which operates thirty stations across the vast nation.

Says Media-One ceo Ivan Tarin: "We believe that the combination of Disney's unparalleled media experience and content capabilities and our knowledge of the local television market will enable us to create a unique channel that is predestined for success."

Robert Iger, his opposite number at Disney, was in similarly rah-rah mode. Russia, he said, is an "extremely important market", hailing the new channel as a "great way for us to expand our brand and business".

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff