CTC Media gets ready for Love

Russia’s CTC Media is set to launch a new female-skewing network called CTC Love at the end of March or beginning of April, according to CEO Yuliana Slashcheva.

Speaking on the firm’s fourth quarter and full year 2013 earnings call, Slashcheva said that CTC staged a technical launch on February and is currently testing the signal, advertising blocks and general operations of the channel ahead of the commercial launch.

CTC Love will focus on the topics of love and relationships and target the 11-34 year-old audience, with a principal focus on 18-25 year-old female viewers, according to CTC.

Slashcheva said this demographic was not largely served by CTC’s existing networks and that it will bring the firm “additional audience, additional revenues and more content delivered on different platforms.”

The news came on the back of strong annual results for CTC. For the 12 months ending December 31, net income was US$152 million, compared to US$93 million for the same period last year.

Total revenues up 7% year-on-year in ruble terms to US$832.1 million. However, this was short of an 8.8% increase in the overall Russian TV ad market, due to the earlier-than-expected increase in Olympics advertising late in 2013 on the channels licensed to broadcast the 2014 Sochi Games.

“We currently expect the Russian TV advertising marketto grow by 5 to 8% in 2014, with the highest growth in the first quarter of the year supported by Sochi Olympics. We expect our Russian TV advertising revenues to grow in line with the market in ruble terms, and for our programming expenses to grow by less our total revenues,” said Slashcheva.

She also said that the firm was making progress with the strategic objectives it outlined in November. These include growing CTC’s combined audience share, diversifying its revenue streams and expanding its digital offering.

CTC recently upgraded its and websites and launched of channel apps, which Slashcheva said it aims to monetise this year.

“We have made significant progress in 2013. CTC Media has delivered a solid performance, and I am particularly proud of the far-reaching improvements that we have made in several key areas such as programming, content development and digital expansion,” said Slashcheva.