The Walt Disney Company and Media-One Form Joint Venture to Launch Disney-Branded Free-to-Air Television Channel in Russia

MOSCOW & BURBANK, Calif.--()--The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), through one of its subsidiaries, and Media-One Holdings Limited, a broadcaster operating assets in the regions of Russia, are forming a joint venture to launch a Disney-branded television channel in Russia.

The joint venture plans to launch the new family-oriented entertainment channel on 30 stations throughout Russia currently owned and operated by Media-One. Anchored by Disney programming for kids and family, the channel also plans to air original Russian programming. In addition to programming the TV channel with acquired content, the joint venture also has plans to produce its own programs which will occupy more of the schedule as the company matures.

The launch of the predominately free-to-air national network is slated for 2009, pending regulatory approval from Russian government authorities.

In return for a 49% stake in the joint venture company, Disney will invest cash and provide programming and marketing expertise and content acquisition support. Media-One will provide its knowledge and operational experience in the Russian market, its local broadcast station portfolio and its advertising sales expertise. Media-One will be the majority shareholder and will appoint a majority of the joint venture company’s board of directors.

“We are delighted to sign this landmark deal with the world’s leading multinational media company for the Russian television market,” said Ivan Tavrin, CEO of Media-One. “We believe that the combination of Disney’s unparalleled media experience and content capabilities and our knowledge of the local television market will enable us to create a unique channel that is predestined for success. We set ourselves the goal not only to become a popular kids and family focused free-to-air television channel in the country, but also to produce attractive financial results in a relatively short time frame.”

“Russia is an extremely important market for Disney and this new Disney channel is a great way for us to expand our brand and business,” said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “We are incredibly excited about bringing great Disney family entertainment and locally-produced content into the homes of millions of Russians.”

“We're extremely honored to be able to launch Disney Channel in Russia together with such a reliable and capable local partner as Media-One,” says Marina Jigalova-Ozkan, Managing Director for The Walt Disney Company CIS. “This is one the most significant steps for the development of the Disney brand in Russia and we strongly believe that the Russian audience will enjoy the high-quality family entertainment that Disney is known for.”

About The Walt Disney Company CIS LLC

The Walt Disney Company CIS LLC was established in Russia in April 2006. Currently the Company’s business activities include: Media Networks (Branded TV, DAIT – Media, Disney Internet Group, Jetix Licensing, Jetix Broadcasting), Studio Entertainment (WDSHE, WDSMPI), Consumer Products (Toys, Home, Stationery, Food, Health & Beauty, Other Licensing, Publishing, Disney Interactive Studios).

The Walt Disney Company CIS recently announced it joined forces with some of Russia’s top filmmaking talents for its first Russian produced feature, “The Book of Masters.” The film started shooting in September 2008 outside Minsk. Upon completion of the first stage of shooting, production will then move on to the Mosfilm Studio stages. “The Book of Masters” Russian premiere is scheduled for fall 2009.

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with four business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company, had annual revenues of more than $35.5 billion in its last fiscal year.

About Media-One

Media-One Holdings Limited is a holding company owning and operating assets in 2 business segments – Radio and Television. Established in 2007 Media-One has consolidated 86 regional radio and TV stations.

Media-One TV stations group owns and operates 30 regional TV stations which are currently affiliated with various TV networks or programmed locally.

Media-One Radio (brand name “Vyberi Radio”) owns and operates 56 radio stations in 18 markets (54 stations are affiliated with national radio holdings; 2 stations are programmed locally).

Major shareholders: Ivan Tavrin (founder of the company, ex-President of TV3 network), Igor Mishin (VP of National Association of Television, VP of Academy of Russian TV, founder of Channel4 media holding, Ekaterinburg) and Renaissance Private Equity Fund I, LP.

Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of our views and assumptions regarding future events and business performance as of the time the statements are made and we do not undertake any obligation to update these statements. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Such differences may result from actions taken by the Company as well as from developments beyond the Company’s control, including governmental actions and changes in domestic and global economic conditions. Additional factors are set forth in Item 1A of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 27, 2008 and subsequent reports.

Contacts

The Walt Disney Company
Zenia Mucha, 818-560-5300
Michelle Bergman, 818-560-8231
Elena Yamshikova, +7 (495) 225-86-20

Contacts

The Walt Disney Company
Zenia Mucha, 818-560-5300
Michelle Bergman, 818-560-8231
Elena Yamshikova, +7 (495) 225-86-20