Russia debuts first teen toon channel

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LONDON -- Russia's first cartoon channel targeted exclusively at teenagers and young adults will launch next year, Prof-Media announced Tuesday in Moscow.

Channel 2X2 -- also the territory's first free-to-view animation channel -- is targeting the 11-34 age bracket with a 24/7 schedule of international and Russian animation that will hit the air in April, Prof-Media said.

First-year spending on the channel -- initially available in Moscow and its suburbs before rolling out to St. Petersburg -- will be $10 million-$15 million, Prof-Media spokesman Konstantin Vorontsov said Tuesday.

Earlier this year, the company -- the media arm of Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin's industrial group Interros -- paid a reported $30 million for the station, a hitherto little-watched station that ran music clips, telemagazines and movies.

The purchase completed a program of strategic purchases aimed at giving Prof-Media a presence in every key media field.

The new station, which is likely to renamed before going on air, is designed to capture a significant market share by attracting viewers from media-savvy youngsters who use the Internet and mobile telephony but do not always watch TV.

Research shows that while 38% of Moscow's population is in the 11-34 age bracket this group makes up just 27% of TV viewers. The majority of older viewers already are well catered for by other television outlets, Prof-Media said.

Key programming will likely include adult animation such as Time Warner's Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, international hits "The Simpsons," "Family Guy," "Bender," "South Park" and "Beavis and Butthead" as well as classic cartoons including "The Flintstones" and "The Jetsons" and Soviet-era animation that remains hugely popular in Russia.
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