Russia Television and Radio is a Russian media and public broadcaster that produces premium content locally and internationally. Julia Matiash, Director of Sovtelexport, distribution arm of the company, spoke about the prolific present that they are going through and the international expansion strategies.
What may you tell me about the story of the company?
“Russia Television and Radio is the largest national media company and public broadcaster that produces and brings high-quality content to virtually every home in the country. Sovtelexport is the distribution branch of the company and presents over 25000 hours of premium content worldwide. We present top-quality original production that includes feature films, series, telenovelas, documentaries, entertainment and children shows for international audiences. Sovtelexport has been working successfully on the global content market for 20 years, establishing and maintaining long-term partnerships with the industry leaders all over the world.”
What titles are part of the current catalogue of the company?
“Our catalogue has always been diverse in genres. Our bestsellers are sophisticated and gorgeous period dramas such as ‘Ekaterina’, ‘Godunov’, ‘Sophia’ as well as the impressing world-known classics adaptations, like ‘Idiot And Demons’ by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina’ and Sholokhov’s ‘And Quiet Flows The Don’. Our documentary line-up contains popular historical titles based on the unique archive materials such as the latest documentary- ‘Great China Reborn’ (72 min); spectacular nature and culture footages; special projects revealing diversified points of view on extremely topical global current affairs and politics, for instance ‘World Order’, a frank and versatile interview with Vladimir Putin”.
What are the latest distribution agreements reached by the company?
“Since the beginning of 2019 we have signed a number of long awaited agreements in Poland, Greece, Hungary, China, Japan and Vietnam. We would highlight the sale of the second season of ‘Ekaterina’ to Señal Colombia and the sale of ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘Demons’ to Canal 22 Mexico. We are very proud that our best productions show great results in Latin America and looking forward to present more high-quality Russian titles to the región”.
In what territories are you strong and in what regions do you want to expand?
“We are broadly presented in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR countries. Our series and documentaries have good results on the main channels in Serbia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Greece, Cyprus and Poland. Western Europe and Scandinavia show growing interest in period dramas and top documentary films from our catalogue. Our productions can be seen in Italy, France, Denmark, Germany and Sweden. One of the important markets for us is MENA where we have been building sustainable relations with Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq and North Africa. In Asia Pacific region we have still expanding cooperation with China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Mongolia. In 2018 we concluded an important deal in Vietnam with VTV and expect to increase our presence in this region. In 2019 the first Russian series were aired on a free TV channel in South Korea. In the US our presence is performed mainly on digital platforms such as Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, Hulu. Our main targets for the nearest future are the cooperation expansion in Latin America, Oceania and Australia, Southeast Asian territories, especially India”.
What was the proposal of the company in MIPCOM?
“At Mipcom we presented a rich collection of fresh high-end Russian series, features and documentaries. First of all let me draw your attention to a new costume drama about the greatest Russian Empress, ‘Ekaterina. Pretenders’ (16x52 min). It focuses on the most dramatic period of her life when she had to confront multiple outside and inside enemies and almost lost her power. A real sensation for the market was a special documentary project ‘Great China Reborn’ (72’) created of the unique chronicles shot by the Soviet cameramen in color in 1949 and kept secret for 70 years according to Stalin’s order. At Mipcom we also presented first available materials of the feature ‘One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich’, based on the Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s first novel. It is an inspiring and humanistic story about how powerful can be an ordinary man in face of unbearable and cruel circumstances. We will attending MIPCancún in México next month.
What are the goals of the company in 2020?
“Our mission has always been to introduce the best Russian TV products to the world. The Latin American market is one of the most important for us due to the close view of life that we observe from our experience. The value of family and children, strong female characters, positive attitude to hardships, creative perception of world around are very similar in both Latin America and Russia. We see much interest and great opportunities in the region and aim at fruitful mutually beneficial cooperation”.
By Romina Rodríguez