CCTV, Channel One to Launch Network With Russian Content in China

Russian TV show 'Ice Age'

Katusha will air Russian movies, documentaries and TV shows with Chinese subtitles.

Russia's largest state-run TV network Channel One and China Central Television (CCTV) have agreed to launch Katusha, a TV network with Russian content for Chinese audiences, Channel One said Thursday.

Katusha will feature cultural, educational, scientific and historical shows related to Russia, as well as movies and documentaries, which will be aired in Russian with Chinese subtitles.

The only programming immediately unveiled as being featured on the channel is reality TV show Ice Age, which is similar to Dancing With the Stars and pairs professional ice skaters with celebrities. The show caused some controversy last year.

Katusha will primarily target Chinese audiences, and the network will be allowed to run commercials from Russian companies, which, Channel One hopes, will attract Russian companies working in the Chinese market or planning to enter it as advertisers, the network said.

Alexei Yefimov, general director of Channel One. Global Network, the Russian network's subsidiary in charge of developing Katusha, was quoted by Russian business daily Vedomosti as saying that Katusha will be the first foreign-owned network in China to be issued a license for local viewers.

It is set to be launched before the end of the year under an agreement between the two countries' governments.

Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to launch a Russian content TV network in China several years ago, but negotiations about the specifics took a while, eventually resulting in the signing of an agreement in Moscow this week.

In Russia, CCTV's Russian-language network is already available. The launch of Katusha comes at a time when the two countries have been looking to collaborate more closely in the area of media and entertainment.

Putin and Xi met in Moscow earlier this week to discuss boosting ties between the two countries. Since Russia's relations with the West soured three years ago over Crimea and Ukraine, Russia has sought better ties with China.