Amedia preps programming, distribution deals as HBO and OTT launch

Alexander_AkapovRussia’s largest producer Amedia has launched a premium channel and an OTT service today and founder and president Alexander Akopov (above) has told TBI deals are being negotiated for new programming and wider distribution of the new offerings.

Amedia has snagged a raft of programming from CBS and HBO after inking volume and output deals with the US companies. It is effectively launching HBO in Russia with all of the premium programmer’s dramas, TV movies and docs feeding through the Amedia Premium channel.

The new premium channel will be complemented by an over-the-top service,, which will carry content from all of the channels. The TV channel will cost subs Rub99 (US$3.10) a month and the OTT service Rub399 (US$12.5). Amedia launched two basic cable channels, Amedia1 and Amedia2 in 2011.

As the new services roll out Amedia president and founder Alexander Akopov told TBI that the company is talking to eight Russian pay TV operators to widen the channels’ distribution. They are carried on DTH platform NTV+ as well as the pay TV services of MTS, Beeline and ER Telecom. That gives Amedia a channels footprint, Akopov says, of almost 12 million.

The Amedia boss adds that there are also new programming deals afoot and that Amedia it is about to add content from key UK and other international programming suppliers to its services. He declines to talk specifics but says the programming budget stretches to tens of millions of dollars.

“The [HBO and CBS] deals give us enough programming to launch, but there will be agreements with other providers, but not output deals,” Akopov says.

The Premium channels and OTT service present Russian consumers with a new proposition, Akopov added, noting that the main competition will come in the form of pirated content.

“This content is mostly not in the Russian market, there have been some series on free-to-air such as Sex and the City, but it has never been presented in this volume,” he said. “No-one has systematically put content from the likes of HBO, Showtime and CBS on the air.”

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