According to AKTR and RBC Daily, quoting the company’s latest set of results, this is due to the upcoming amendments to the law ‘On the Media’, limiting foreign direct and indirect ownership levels in Russian media assets to 20%. Walt Disney paid $300 million in 2011 for a 49% stake in what is now a Russian version of the Disney Channel. It is now considering various options to meet the new legal requirements, which come into effect in 2016.
Walt Disney’s time in Russia has not already been without its difficulties. In 2008, the company agreed to buy a 49% stake in Media-1 TV, a group managing 30 regional stations, for $233 million. However, it was prevented from doing so because Ivan Tavrin, the group’s main owner, had failed to obtain political approval for the deal.
Walt Disney went on to launch Disney Channel on Russian cable networks in 2009 and two years later obtained permission to buy a 49% stake in the station Seven, re-launched as Disney Channel.
Disney Channel had an average daily audience share of 1.9% in the first nine months of this year. It claims a share of around 1% of the Russian TV ad market.