Russian broadcaster CTC Media has made a $65 million cash investment to take a stake in Kazakhstan’s Channel 31, and plans to launch a new station in Uzbekistan.
In Kazakhstan, CTC Media gains a 20-percent interest in Channel 31 and majority ownership positions in affiliate companies that will provide the advertising sales function and programming content for Channel 31. These interests will provide CTC Media with a right to 60 percent of the economic interest of the Channel 31 group.
Alexander Rodnyansky, CEO of CTC, noted: "We are excited about the opportunity the Kazakhstan market presents. This is a country with a population of more than 15 million people and a fast-growing economy. It has significant potential for further growth in the television advertising market which industry experts estimated at approximately $200 million in 2006 and is the third largest among the countries of the former Soviet Union behind Russia and Ukraine. With younger viewers comprising an unusually high proportion of total audience in the country, CTC’s focus on younger demographics provides us with an attractive opportunity to gain audience share. Together with our Kazakh partners, a prominent team of professionals led by journalist and executive Armanjan Baitasov, we aim to create a high quality entertainment television station in Kazakhstan while maintaining the channels’ distinct local appeal."
In addition, CTC Media has aligned with the Terra group, a leading independent Uzbek media holding company, to register a new television company in Uzbekistan that is expected to commence operations in 2008 on Channel 30. CTC Media will own 51 percent of the company. The population of Uzbekistan is more than 27 million.
Rodnyansky said, "We will create the first national TV player with foreign ownership participation in a TV market that had been developing in isolation for quite a while. This allows us to bring together the concept of private entertainment television and our programming and operational expertise. In cooperation with our local partners, we are in a unique position to reshape and develop the Uzbek TV landscape."
The CTC television network is carried by more than 340 affiliate stations, including 18 owned-and-operated stations. CTC Media also owns the Domashny television network, whose signal is carried by over 220 affiliate stations, including ten owned-and-operated stations.