Russia Turns the TV Tide, Sells 'Reality' Show to USA

13 June 2005

The one-way TV traffic flow between eastern Europe and the USA, momentarily reversed direction last week with the sale of a Russian 'reality' series, Dom-2, to the US arm of global entertainment titan Sony Pictures.

It is the first time a Russian television show has been sold to a global media corporation, proving, some cynics say, that bland dross bridges all political and cultural gaps.

In the show, produced by Russia's TNT Network, a unit of state-owned Gazprom-Media, young men and women pair off and compete to win a house they build themselves.

The rights acquired by Sony entitle it to produce and distribute a Spanish-language version of Dom-2 within the USA. According to TNT general director Roman Petrenko, his network is also in the "final stages of negotiations" to sell the program to an unnamed European broadcaster.

Says Petrenko: "Today, Russia is an importer of Western television products and knowhow. We have been dreaming for a long time about exporting television formats, goods that neither require power nor pollute the environment."

He revealed that the Sony deal will generate a one-off fee of "less than $100,000" (€82,460; £55,163) but that TNT will receive 40% of all revenues including profits from phone-in voting.

Data sourced from The Moscow; additional content by WARC staff