Sales geography expands to 154 countries
Gazprom-Media added up the international sales of its film and television projects. In 2018, the Holding’s companies put a lot of effort into promoting Russian content abroad. They presented domestic films, TV series and programs at international markets and festivals, and sold rights to show their television and film projects.
As of September 2018, the film series Hozhdenie po Mukam (The Road to Calvary) is available to Netflix subscribers. On December 1, the last part of the film trilogy Gogol. Strashnaya Mest (Gogol. The Terrible Revenge) premiered as part of the Russian Cinema Week festival in London. The format of the popular Russian humour program Odnazhdy v Rossii (Once Upon a Time in Russia) was sold to Hulegu Pictures, the largest media company in Mongolia, with the premiere of the adapted version tentatively scheduled for December 31, 2018.
“One of the Holding’s priorities is to grow international distribution and strengthen partnerships with foreign entities. While we create our content for Russia, we are also introducing viewers in different countries to our domestic films, series and programs. This is possible due to the high quality of content produced by Gazprom-Media and the growing interest to it from foreign markets,” said Dmitry Chernyshenko, CEO of Gazprom-Media Holding.
Successful case studies in the distribution of Russian films
Central Partnership, included in Gazprom-Media Holding as part of GPM KIT, has increased its revenues from international distribution by 12.5% in 2018 and retained its leadership among distributors in terms of international releases of film projects. As of the end of November 2018, the international box office of all Russian releases of Central Partnership grew by 68% and added up to $5.4 million. To this day, the company has released 10 domestic films at the international box office and their total number of viewers abroad has reached 1.38 million people. Central Partnership’s sales geography has increased from 125 countries in 2017 to 154 countries in 2018.
The company successfully sold the rights to several Russian films, including Rusalka. Ozero Myortvyh (Mermaid. Lake of the Dead), Legenda o Kolovrate (The Legend of Kolovrat) and Rubezh (Frontier), which are produced by KIT Studios - included in Gazprom-Media as part of GPM KIT. Rights were also sold to the films Dvizhenie Vverkh (Going Vertical), Trener (Coach), Ekipazh (Crew), Viking, Gogol, and Fiksiki: Bolshoi Sekret (The Fixies: Top Secret). As such, Rusalka. Ozero Myortvyh was seen by viewers in 154 countries, Viking - in 125 countries, and Legenda o Kolovrate - in 86 countries.
TV-3 channel’s fantasy trilogy Gogol and the dilogy Avanpost were sold at the largest film market in the USA, American Film Market, in November this year. The rights were sold to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Moreover, Central Partnership sold the rights to show the Gogol trilogy in Japan, where the films will get a limited release.
Success in selling formats, films and television projects of own production
Since 2017, NTV channel - part of Gazprom-Media Holding - has been actively working on distributing its content abroad. In this time, major international companies have acquired the rights to a number of the TV channel’s projects. Dori Media Group is handling the international sale of rights to the series Hozhdenie po Mukam, which was created by Russian World Studios by an order from NTV channel. This large-scale, 12-episode series was made available to Netflix subscribers in September. The series premiered on Greece’s ERT3 channel in November 2018 and another contract, to show the series in Thailand, was recently signed.
The international distributor Armoza Formats has acquired the rights to two projects from NTV channel - the detective story with mystical elements Proklyatie Spyashih (The Curse of the Sleeping) and the detective story Trassa Smerti (Highway of Death). On top of this, one of the largest players on the world market, Global Agency, bought the rights to the historical action-drama A.L.Z.H.I.R. As of 2017, the largest international distributor Banijay Rights is distributing the format to the popular NTV talk show Sekret na Million (Secret Worth a Million) on an exclusive basis.
In 2018, NTV’s military dramas Apperkot dlya Gitlera (Uppercut for Hitler) and Orden (The Order) became available on Amazon Prime. The same year, the Chinese online platform Bililbili, which has a monthly audience of 77.5 million users, acquired the action-thriller Schubert.
In September 2018, TV-3 channel - part of Gazprom-Media Holding - and Great Britain’s largest independent distributor Cineflix Rights signed an agreement on the transfer of exclusive international rights to the film series Obychnaya Zhenshina (An Ordinary Woman), where Boris Khlebnikov was the director and Anna Mikhalkova played the lead role. The series was shown to foreign partners in Cannes, France as part of MIPCOM, the largest international market for audiovisual content.