MTV Russia to Go Off the Air Next June

The channel will be replaced with an entertainment network for a broader target audience.

MOSCOW – MTV Russia will go off the air next June and will be replaced with another entertainment channel, Pyatnitsa, aimed at broader audiences.

The Russian business daily Vedomosti has quoted ad agency employees as saying that they recently attended presentations of Pyatnitsa, organized by Profmedia, which has owned the Russian license for the brand MTV since 2007. According to the report, as of June 1, 2013, Pyatnitsa will be launched on the frequency currently occupied by MTV Russia, targeting the 14-44 age group as opposed to MTV Russia’s 14-34 target demo.

Launched in 1998 by Boris Zosimov, who sold the channel to Viacom in 2002, MTV Russia was one of the most popular entertainment TV channels in the country throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. But over the last few years, popularity of MTV Russia has been declining, with its audience share falling to 1.6 percent in 2011 from 2.2 percent the year before, according to research company TNS.

Rumors that Profmedia, which also controls film producer Central Partnership and cartoon TV channels 2x2 and TV3, would not extend its license for the brand MTV -- which reportedly costs it about 100 million rubles ($3.3 million) a year -- began to circulate earlier this year.

Incidentally, MUZ TV, which was MTV’s main competitor throughout the most of the 2000s, was recently replaced with Yu, a station featuring more diverse entertainment as a free-to-air channel and is only available via satellite, alongside of scores of other niche channels.