Russian Online Video Service Tvigle Signs a Major Deal with BBC Worldwide

Sources say the deal's value could exceed $500,000.

MOSCOW – The Russian online video service Tvigle Media has purchased a package of television content from BBC Worldwide in a deal that could be the biggest one of this kind in Russia so far.

Over the coming year, Tvigle.ru will offer its users the television series Misfits, The Luther, Cranford, The Fade, The Deep, Mongrels, Upstairs Downstairs, South Riding and Father & Son, as well as 10 seasons of the show Top Gear, Tvigle said in a statement.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Tvigle for the first time,” Linda Passey, Senior Publishing Manager, Sales & Distribution at BBC Worldwide, was quoted as saying in Tvigle’s statement. “Russian viewers are very savvy digital content consumers and the demand for top British content is ever increasing so we are very pleased to be able to offer them more of their favorite programs on such a respected and trusted platform.”

“We have been working with legitimate content longer than anyone else in the Russian market,” Yegor Yakovlev, Tvigle’s CEO, told The Hollywood Reporter. “And we know that online viewers are younger, better educated and more sophisticated than audiences of traditional television, and BBC content is suitable for them.”

He added that although pirated content accounts for a large share of Russia’s online video market, it is vital to offer the viewer a legitimate alternative that would be better than what is offered in the illegitimate segment.

Tvigle operates on an ad-sponsored model, but, according to Yakovlev, some of the content purchased from BBC could be offered to users by subscription.

Yakovlev wouldn’t comment on the value of the deal, but sources in the market say that it is based on revenue share and the minimum guarantee paid to BBC could be over $500,000. This makes the deal the biggest license agreement ever signed by a Russian online video service.

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