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Two major Russian broadcasters launch new production company

Two major Russian broadcasting organisations have joined forces to launch a new content production company, Prime Time. The All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) and National Media Group, both controlled by Yury Kovalchuk, a businessman and ally of Vladmir Putin, each hold a 40% stake in the new company. The remaining 20% is held by the new general director of Prime Time, Vyacheslav Murugov, who spent 10 years working at independent Russian broadcaster CTC Media before leaving to head the new company. 

CTC, which was initially expected to be part of the joint venture, was eventually left out of the deal due to restructuring, a circumstance brought about following last year’s law restricting foreign shareholding in Russian media to 20%, an anonymous source at CTC told Kommersant. Presently, 39% of CTC’s stakes are owned by Swedish media company Modern Times Group, while 25% are owned by Telcrest, a Cyprus-based bank of which 10.46% stakes were recently acquired by Russian state bank Bank Rossiya.

Prime Time has already began discussions with a number of free-to-air stations in Russia over upcoming projects, with a number tipped to be under development in partnership with production company Art Pictures Studio founded by director Fedor Bondarchuk.