CTC Media to Stem Ratings Losses With Own Shows, Troika Says

CTC Media Inc. (CTCM), the U.S.-traded owner of Russia’s fifth-largest television channel, will stem ratings losses this year by switching to locally produced series that are less expensive to air than imported shows, according to Troika Dialog.

CTC Media began airing “Doctor Zaitseva’s Diary,” this month, a romantic drama set in Russia and produced in house, and will start broadcasting a new comedy series called “Eighties” on Jan. 30, according to the company’s website.

“They are learning from their past mistakes and are now concentrating on relatively inexpensive and yet popular-with- Russian-audiences in-house productions, as opposed to broadcasting expensive Hollywood blockbusters,” said Anna Lepetukhina, an analyst in Moscow at Troika, Russia’s oldest brokerage. “While 2011 was extremely bad for CTC Media, 2012 can prove to be a turning point for them. They can for sure stabilize their share of the audience.”

Troika rates CTC Media’s shares a “buy,” with a price target of $22.80. The stock rose 2.8 percent to $9.97 by the end of trading in New York, the biggest advance since Jan. 3. The shares dropped 63 percent last year.

The average daily share of viewers for CTC Media’s television channel, the company’s biggest source of advertising revenue, fell to below 7 percent last month, from 7.5 percent in November and 7.9 percent in October, according to weekly data from TNS Gallup Media. CTC media uses TNS Gallup data in its financial reports.

Troika, whose takeover by state-owned OAO Sberbank was completed today, forecasts advertising spending in Russia will increase by as much as 9 percent in 2012 from 2011, with as much as 6 percent growth in spending on television, according to the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Halia Pavliva in New York at hpavliva@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emma O’Brien at eobrien6@bloomberg.net

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