Putin Ally's Venture With Discovery to Broadcast CNN in Russia

  • Venture formed this year to comply with Russia's new media law
  • Group will also broadcast Turner's Cartoon Network, Boomerang

Media Alliance, a joint venture of Russia’s National Media Group and Discovery Communications Inc., agreed to broadcast Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s channels in the country to help comply with local legislation.

Media Alliance will air Turner’s Cartoon Network, Boomerang and CNN in Russia, it said in a joint statement with Turner Wednesday. The deal is set to be completed in the coming weeks, the companies said.

President Vladimir Putin signed a law last year requiring that foreign ownership in Russian media be limited to 20 percent by 2016 amid political tensions with the U.S. and European Union. Discovery formed the venture in August with National Media Group, backed by Putin’s billionaire ally Yury Kovalchuk, to distribute Discovery’s channels in accordance with the law.

The Turner deal “will allow expanding our offer on pay-TV market, as well as continuing to provide an access to high-quality content to Russian audience,” said Olga Paskina, chief executive officer of Media Alliance.

“Our ambition is to develop this new partnership further to enable us to bring more top content to new audiences,” said Matthias Heinze, a Turner vice president and general manager for eastern Europe.

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