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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Vast New TV Network to Mix National, Local News

Russia's influential Media-MOST company, owned by business tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky, announced plans Wednesday to launch a new television network that will start broadcasting in January to as many as 50 regions across the country.

The new network, called THT, will beam its digital signal from Moscow via satellite to local affiliates, which will provide a mixture of both national and local programming, the network's general director, Sergei Skvortsov, said.

"We hope to create a type of television network, which will be able to compete against the central channels," he said.

The new media venture is modeled on U.S. television networks, where national broadcasting companies team up with local channels to share programming. This model is relatively new for Russia, where all the main channels produce programs centrally and broadcast from Moscow via transmitters aroundthe country.

The announcement of the new network came as Media-MOST's top executives unveiled a new corporate structure that will unite its electronic media operations, which include NTV television and Ekho Moskvy radio, under one roof called NTV-Holding.

Under Media-MOST's new corporate structure, Igor Malashenko, formerly president of NTV and NTV-Plus, has been appointed head of the new holding company.

Malashenko said the reorganization was in response to the rapid growth of the media industry, which has been fueled by an expansion in advertising revenues. The new corporate structure distances Gusinsky, who remains president of Media-MOST, further from the operation of his electronic media holdings.

Gusinsky is widely believed to be influencing the political contents of NTV's programming.

In addition to NTV, NTV-Plus, THT, and Ekho Moskvy, the new holding company will oversee Media-MOST's satellite communication company, Bonum 1, and distributor NTV-Kino.