Rostelecom and National Media Group have signed an agreement of intent to merge the Wink and more.tv video services into a joint venture, 70% of which will belong to Rostelecom, and 30% to NMG. The merged business will operate under the Wink brand. The creation of a unified business structure is aimed at strengthening the positions of both sides on the Russian market of content production and distribution.
At the moment, it is planned to conduct assessments of the merged businesses and other necessary corporate procedures, following which the parties will finalize the parameters of the transaction and sign legally binding documents.
To resolve operational issues, an integration committee with representatives from both sides will be created. It will determine the principles of formation, business structure and management system of the joint venture. It is planned to merge services, content libraries and client bases in stages, as well as to create a single center of competence for the producing and production of original content. Integration procedures should be completed by the end of 2022.
"Only the union of the strong can be successful. Rostelecom is the leader of the Russian interactive television market, and our Wink video service is one of the three largest online cinemas by the number of paid subscribers. Traditionally, we have the most powerful TV content offer among our competitors. NMG, in turn, has achieved impressive success in the production of TV series and movies that millions of Russian viewers enjoy watching. Our joint venture will combine the strengths of the participants, offering the market an efficient pipeline for the production and distribution of excellent content, both in IPTV and in the OTT environment. As a result of the merger, we will strengthen our joint market positions and increase the production of original content," said Mikhail Oseevsky, President of Rostelecom.
"NMG and Rostelecom already have a successful experience of joint projects in the media business. It is great that we have found an opportunity to expand our partnership regarding other areas of business. The synergy of NMG's production facilities and expertise in the creation of media content and various digital distribution channels will significantly strengthen the position of the updated online movie theater in the highly competitive Russian market. The vast experience in creating successful media content will allow NMG to form an effective content strategy for the combined platform," said Svetlana Balanova, CEO of National Media Group.
Wink combines the advantages of interactive television (more than 400 TV channels) and an online cinema with an excellent collection of movies, TV series, cartoons, concerts and other content for every taste (more than 60,000 items). Wink is the basic online cinema for Rostelecom and Tele2 product lines, subscriptions to the video service are integrated into most of the operators' data plans. Wink is also part of Gazprombank's VK Combo and Fire subscriptions. The Wink video service is included in the register of Russian software maintained by the Russian Ministry of Digital Development.
more.tv is an online service of National Media Group, which has combined in one place its own projects in the more originals line, foreign premieres of TV series and movies, exclusive content and live broadcast of popular Russian TV channels. The content on the service can be watched free with advertising or in a single subscription. The service is available via a browser on any desktop computers and laptops, as well as in applications for iOS, Android, Android TV and Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV and LG Smart TV (WebOS).
The line of more originals includes such well-known series as Troubled Teens (2019), Chicks (2020), Psycho (2020), Happy End (2021), Your Honour (2021), Home Field (2022). In addition, the following TV series produced jointly with Wink were released in more originals: The Nineties (2020), The Chicks (2022) and The Zero Years (2022).
Until the integration procedures are completed, subscribers will continue to use the Wink and more.tv video services under the current terms and conditions.
Further usage of the more.tv brand will be determined based on the results of the integration committee's work.
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