Akado to invest $200 mil in Internet TV

Funds to be split between Moscow and regions

MOSCOW -- Russian Internet TV and broadband provider Akado plans to invest $200 million in the development of its business in 2009, the company said Monday.

According to chairman Yuri Pripachkin, 60% of the investment will be spent on the company's Moscow division, with the remaining amount distributed among its regional divisions.

Akado said that its Internet TV service has grown by about 22,000 subscribers a month over the last few months, largely driven by viewers switching from traditional free-to-air TV to Internet television or using both at the same time.

Akado operates in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and the Belarusian capital of Minsk and has plans to step up its activities in other regions.

Meanwhile, Akado is set to face tough competition in Moscow, as other operators, such as Vympelcom and Comstar -- which provide Internet TV services in the capital -- also are planning to step up investment.

Comstar is implementing a $100 million investment scheme in Moscow for 2008-09. Meanwhile, observers say that Moscow's Internet TV market could soon reach saturation.