MOSCOW: Microsoft has inked a deal with VGTRK,  the state-owned parent company of Rossia TV, to put entertainment and children's programmes online as part of a "humanitarian-cum-social project".

Both companies have invested an initial $3 million (€1.9m; £1.51m) in the venture which, claims Dmitry Mednikov, editor of flagship news programme Vesti, is a not-for-profit deal designed to be "an investment in future generations".

According to Microsoft Russia general manager Birger Steen the partnership will create "a media technology incubator or joint platform … [to enable] Microsoft and VGTRK specialists [to] create not just new internet resources but a model of 21st-century media resources".

He added, possibly less altruistically: "This [project] is also based on the presumption that in two or three years, Russia is going to be by far the biggest broadband internet market in Europe."

VGTRK, the country's second largest media conglomerate, lays claims to 65 million peak-time viewers across the nation.

In addition, Mednikov declares Rossia will safeguard online viewers against spam and pornography.

He continues: "We regard kids' online resources as our area of responsibility, and we intend to make them both attractive and entertaining, and at the same time educational in character."

The tie-up was been announced just days after Microsoft ceo Steve Ballmer's trip to Moscow where he met with deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov.

Data sourced from Moscow Times; additional content by WARC staff