Moscow on the Hudson

Author:
Publish date:

Russian Media Group LLC will distribute a three-channel package of
Russian-language services to cable operators under the banner "RTR Planeta."

The package's centerpiece, announced Tuesday night at a news conference
inside the Russian Consulate in New York, is RTR Planeta, a news, arts and
cultural channel programmed for international distribution by RTR, the former
Soviet Union's largest national broadcaster.

RTR Planeta will also carry Russian World, an entertainment channel featuring
movies, TV serials and documentaries; and RTN/WMNB, a mix of
entertainment/information programming from Russia and content directed at the
U.S. Jewish community.

Both of those channels are already available to apartment dwellers and
private homes through a direct-to-home satellite arrangement on Telstar 6.
Russian World also has a few cable clearances nationwide, including Time Warner
Cable's New York City system, which added the channel to its digital package
last month.

Russian Media Group CEO Mark Golub said negotiations with Time Warner and
other major cable operators on the three-channel pack were just getting under
way.

"It's too early to have a specific answer" on when deals will be struck, but
interest is there, he noted. "I'm certain RTR Planeta will be carried by many
cable systems in the future. This [distribution partnership with RTR] is not
only a testament to the transcendence of human creativity in general, but of
America's appreciation of Russian culture."

Julia Parnas, assistant for community affairs to New York Gov. George Pataki,
also welcomed the RTR Planeta news and urged cable operators statewide to carry
the package.

"Healthy competition is good," Parnas said. "It raises the stakes for other
channels."

Related