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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Financial News Media Outlet to Go on Air

RosBusinessConsulting is pushing ahead with plans to launch Russia's first financial news television channel in a bid to occupy an untested niche in the country's media market.

The IT and media company is to mark 10 years in business in 2003 with RBC TV, which company officials say will be modelled on existing channels such as Bloomberg Financial and CNBC.

RBC estimates the amount of investment needed to get the project on air at almost $40 million, and hopes to find outside investors to provide about half. The channel is to be broadcast on cable channels, with all revenues coming from advertising.

RBC became the first Russian company to launch an initial public offering on the domestic market in May this year. The IPO of a 16 percent stake was about 2 1/2 times oversubscribed and put RBC's market capitalization at $83 million. Now it is using about 40 percent of the funds from the IPO to get the TV channel under way.

"We will start broadcasting in the first half of 2003," said RBC chief investment officer Igor Lanskoi. "It will be 18 hours a day of active information, with six hours of repeats. There will also be 15 to 20 minute magazine programs on investment and the securities market.

"It will be broadcast by cable and satellite on Kosmos and NTV Plus," he said, adding that there would be three to five ad breaks per hour lasting one to two minutes.

Lanskoi said the company was well aware of the lack of precedent in Russia for such a project, and was being cautious in its initial estimates for the channel's performance.

"We need to be conservative in our planning and it's important not to be overly optimistic," he said. "It is a medium-term investment project, so we hope it will be profitable in three to five years."

Lanskoi said RBC is aiming at corporate managers and executives from Russia's middle class for its audience, and will target three geographical areas to reel in viewers. Moscow and St. Petersburg are seen as constituting the main viewing base, while other prosperous cities and those with more than 1 million inhabitants will form the second and third groups, respectively.

As preparations for making RBC TV a reality progress, RBC is courting investors to share the cost of the project. The company has already invested $5 million of its own funds to kick-start the channel, and intends to pump in another $15 million before the cameras start to roll. It is seeking additional funding of at least $15 million from an outside party.

"We want an independent, possibly Western, partner who does not want to influence the content of the channel, and we already have a few proposals," said Lanskoi. "We have already declined offers from Russian banks, as they might want too much control."

Lanskoi said RBC TV's advertising strategy is to lure both current RBC clients who want wider exposure than via Internet, and to bring in new advertisers seeking a business audience from the finance and insurance, real estate and telecoms sectors.

RBC announced 55 percent growth for the first half of 2002, with $13.1 million in revenues. The company forecasts total revenues will rise this year to around $27 million from $17 million in 2001.