Russian Broadcaster CTC Media Launching Clothing Line

The company is looking to diversify its business, which has suffered from the shrinking ad market and restrictions on foreign ownership.

As revenues of CTC Media — Russia's sole publicly traded broadcaster — decline, the company plans to expand its clothing manufacturing business.

CTC Media launched its line of women's clothing last year and is now making it a priority as the broadcaster looks for ways to diversify its business. CTC Media has just signed a contract with a new sales partner, the online retailer Wildberries, and hopes to substantially increase revenues in that area in 2015.

The Russian business daily Vedomosti quoted a source at the company saying that the broadcaster expects revenues from its clothing manufacturing to reach $2.9 million to $3.3 million (180 million rubles to 200 million rubles) this year, which would be "several times" more than in 2014.

To boost sales, CTC Media will be more aggressively promoting its clothing line, manufactured under the brand SweetMe. In addition to characters in shows on the broadcaster's Domashny channel wearing SweetMe items, the company is going to launch regular commercials for the brand on its channels.

CTC Media reported a 29 percent decline in net profits in U.S. dollars in 2014.

The broadcaster saw a sharp decline in its stock value last fall when Russia adopted a law limiting foreign ownership of Russian media companies to 20 percent stakes as of 2016. Sweden's Modern Times Group owns a 39 percent stake in CTC Media.

This year, Russia's TV ad market is expected to decline by about 20 percent.