As has been announced a few days ago, Walt Disney is plunking down about $300 mio to acquire a major stake in the Russian Channel Seven with the objective of entering the Russian market. This is their second attempt. About three years ago, Disney had plans to acquire a 49 percent stake in Russian Media-1 TV. Back then, the acquisition was not approved by the Russian Antitrust Agency which cited “problems with Disney’s paperwork”. It looks like Disney has learned an important lesson about Russian culture and has figured out how to work with the country’s bureaucracy. Why is Disney so eager to enter the Russian market? Is it a case of cultural imperialism that US companies are often accused of? Very unlikely. The simple fact is that growth rates in Russian TV advertising are between 20-30% whereas they have been relatively slow in the West. After a Swedish and a Luxemburg-based group, Disney is now the third foreign investor in Russian TV.
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