Nyet, I Say, to Russian Disney Channel
December 17, 2008 11:21 AM
Have to admit I shook my head in disbelief when I read that the Walt Disney Co. is trying to launch a version of the Disney Channel in Russia, pending final regulatory approval.
Disney, working with Media-One Holdings Ltd., a Russian broadcaster that runs 30 TV stations, will create a separate joint-venture company. Disney will get a 49% stake in that new company and provide cash, programming and marketing.
The new Russian Disney Channel will run staples such as “Hannah Montana” and “The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” as well as programming created in Russia.
On the surface this all sounds dandy. Russia remains one of the world’s last untapped TV markets. But Russia is hardly a bastion of security. Since this past fall, the Russian stock market seemed closed every other day and the value of its stock market is down anywhere from 70% to 80%.
I can’t tell you the value of a ruble today, but I have seen plenty of coverage about how Russian citizens don’t trust their country’s government and refuse to keep money in Russian banks.
So what does Disney know about Russia that its own citizens don’t? I say nyet.