Russia Today TV Channel to Open a Video Agency in Berlin

The state-financed foreign-language station plans to sell its content globally.

MOSCOW -- Russia Today, a foreign-language TV channel financed by the Russian government, is launching a video agency with an office in Berlin in a bid to sell its video content globally.

The video agency is going to be a commercialized version of the station’s current project FreeVideo, which provides free online access to Russia Today’s materials to 12,500 subscribers. However, with the opening of the video agency, there are plans to seriously expand the content that will be offered to customers.

“While FreeVideo is an online project where only materials that we filmed for our purposes are uploaded, the new project will be operating as a full-fledged video agency,” Russia Today’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, was quoted as saying by the Russian daily Izvestiya. “We will be shooting videos specifically for the agency, filming interviews and selecting experts.”

“Also, the correspondent and stringer network is going to increase by several times,” she went on to say. “While now, as a TV channel, we also rely on videos from agencies, once we have our own agency, we will have to find way to receive videos from anywhere in the world, and immediately.”

According to Simonyan, Denis Trunov, Russia Today’s first deputy editor-in-chief, will be put at the helm of the Berlin-based video agency.

Russia Today broadcasts in English, Spanish and Arabic. It is financed by the Russian government, with the subsidy for 2012 standing at 11 billion roubles ($349 million). But the figure is set to be reduced to 10.4 billion roubles ($330 million) next year and to 9.7 billion roubles ($310 million) in 2014.