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CME to launch local production in Ukraine

European broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises plans to increase its local production in Ukraine after it has taken a majority stake in the country’s leading commercial broadcaster Studio 1+1.

This comes as the Ukrainian government aims to bring in new legislation that will ban Russian-language programming in the country.

Last month, CME made an agreement to buy out the minority shares in the broadcaster for US$219.6 million.

The common cultures of Russia and the Ukraine, and bilingualism among the Ukrainian population, allowed Ukraine broadcasters to rely heavily on Russian-language programming for a number of years. One of the leading broadcasters, Inter, even airs its Ukrainian local news in Russian language. But the government aims to change that with new legislation.

 It is unclear when the legislation will be enacted, but CME plans to beef up local production soon in order to launch a number of Ukrainian language serials by fall this year, CME Vice President Marina Williams told TBIvision.

"The government’s legislation is just one of the reasons [for us to invest in local productions]," she said. "The other reason is that it’s just good business overall."