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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Video Piracy to Face Premier Competition

Premier SV, the media sales house that makes up half of Russia's TV advertising cartel, announced plans Friday to enter the video duplicating business and launch an aggressive war against piracy currently plaguing the market.

"We will use all our strength and energy to fight piracy in this country, and we will win the battle," said Vladimir Grigoriyev, general director of the new company, Premier Video Film.

"After a few raids, a couple of legal suits and good media coverage of the issue, we should be able to bring some order in that market," he said.

The creation of the new video duplicating unit seems a natural fit among Premier SV's media sales, advertising, film and television program distributing subsidiaries.

Premier Video Film's duplicating system, purchased from Sony of Japan, is capable of turning out 200,000 tapes a month, said Alexei Grishanov, the firm's deputy director. Premier Video Film says it has already signed contracts with Western producers Miramax, Paramount, MCA Universal and Playboy. The films will be dubbed into Russian, but plans call for making original-language versions available within one year.

An estimated 100 million illegally copied videos are sold every year in Russia, making up about 90 percent of the market, industry officials say.

"More than a billion dollars is lost in revenue to the industry and to the government because of piracy," said Chris Abel-Smith, the executive director of Premier Video Film.

Grigoriyev said the anti-piracy campaign will include a television ad produced by Premier SV aimed at making consumers aware that "stealing is a sin." The ad is scheduled for release by Jan. 1 to coincide with more severe penalties for piracy included in Russia's new criminal code. It includes prison terms of up to five years for violating intellectual property laws.