President of Russia's Top TV Series Producer Steps Down to Form New Company
Alexander Akopov's new company, Kosmos, is currently in negotiations regarding adaptation of U.S. shows and sitcoms.
The president and co-owner of Amedia is leaving to found a new company and do more U.S. adaptations and local content.
Alexander Akopov told The Hollywood Reporter he is leaving Amedia, which he set up in 2002 and in which he still owns 34 percent, to concentrate on producing TV shows and series with his own new company, Kosmos Film.
"I want to concentrate on creative projects," he said. "[Partner] Len [Blavatnik] and I have worked enough together. When we started it was a different market; a seller's market. There was a huge opportunity for investment. You could put in $2 million to $6 million on a series and then sell it to the channels."
"Now it is a buyer's market -- you develop a project and then the TV channel invests and they gain control of many of the rights," he went on to say. "You end up with fewer, smaller, more specific rights; less for your library."
Blavatnik acquired a share in the company in 2005 and currently owns the remaining 66 percent stake. Last year, there were reports that the two partners were looking to sell the company.
Amedia is one of the biggest players in the Russian TV series market, known for successful local adaptations of The Nanny and Ugly Betty.
According to Akopov, he and Blavatnik are working on how to divide up assets. The two remain friends and will restructure shares in Amedia production by shifting assets around within the group. They will continue to cooperate on other parts of the company, such as Amedia Premium Channel and Internet interests.
Akopov's next project is the second season of Catherine the Great. The 10-part costume drama, broadcast by the state-run channel Rossiya last year, was one of Russia's most expensive ever at $500,000 an episode.
The new series, made as a co-production between Amedia and Kosmos, will also run on Rossiya.
Akopov will be announcing a number of adaptations of U.S. shows and sitcoms in September. He is currently negotiating with majors and TV companies in the U.S.