Russia’s TV Network CTC Media Re-Ups With Hollywood Majors

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The network is shifting from Russian series to try and become Russia's home for Hollywood movies.

CTC Media, Russia's second largest broadcaster, has re-upped its agreements with all six major U.S. studios (Disney, Paramount, Universal, Warner and Fox) in a move to become the top station for Hollywood fare in the country.

CTC Media has shifted its budget from original Russian series to Hollywood films, moving against the current in a country where most TV networks are dropping imported fare amid growing anti-Western sentiment. 

But for CTC Media, the deals make financial sense. While a falling ruble has made U.S. films (which are sold in dollars) more expensive, they are still cheap compared with the big-budget drama series CTC Media has commissioned in the past, such as Londongrad, the first-ever Russia drama shot on location in London,. 

"The new agreements allow us to save between 35 percent and 40 percent in ruble terms," Yuliana Slashcheva, CTC Media chief executive officer, told The Hollywood Reporter

CTC Media will clear its primetime 10 p.m. slot, previously reserved for home-grown drama, for U.S. movies. The move allows CTC Media to position itself as Russia's home for Hollywood as competing channels are dropping imported films from their schedules. 

"Fewer networks are airing foreign films, and the number of films has also declined," Slashcheva said, adding that competitor Rossiya 1 no longer airs Hollywood films and Channel One has dramatically reduced the number of such movies.

Until recently, Sweden's Modern Times Group owned a 38-percent stake in CTC Media . MTG pulled out to comply with a new law limiting foreign ownership of media companies.