Turner Russia Channels to Be Distributed by Discovery Venture, Ad Sales Can Resume

AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, file
National Media Group's owner Yuri Kovalchuk

Cartoon Network, Boomerang and CNN are to be distributed in compliance with Russia's new media laws.

Media Alliance, a joint venture of Discovery Communications and Russia's National Media Group, and Time Warner's Turner on Wednesday unveiled a deal that will see Media Alliance distribute Turner channels in Russia.

Distribution via Media Alliance will allow Turner to sell ads in compliance with a new Russian law, under which networks distributed in Russia over satellite and cable are banned from running commercials. Media Alliance, which was formed two months ago, has an air frequency, which means it is exempt from those rules.

"Aside from satisfying the legal requirements, the deal with Media Alliance will create a complementary portfolio of diverse channels.," said Matthias Heinze, Turner's vp commercial and general manager, Eastern Europe. "What’s more, our ambition is to develop this new partnership further to enable us to bring more top content to new audiences."

"The deal is part of Media Alliance's strategy," said Olga Paskina, Media Alliance's CEO. "It will allow us to expand our pay TV offer and continue to provide access to high-quality content for Russian viewers."

Under the deal, Media Alliance's portfolio, which currently includes Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, ID Xtra, DTX, Discovery Science, Eurosport 1, Eurosport 2 and Eurosportnews, will expand to accommodate Turner's Cartoon Network, Boomerang and CNN.

To continue operating in Russia after Jan. 1, 2016 in compliance with foreign media ownership laws, limiting foreign shares to 20-percent stakes, Discovery transferred its assets in Russia to a locally registered company. The restrictions don't apply to Turner as it doesn't have a local subsidiary.