Discovery takes Russian docs to US for the first time

A raft of documentaries from Russian state-backed broadcaster VGRTK will be seen in the US for the first time after Discovery took international rights to the content and it was picked up by its US cable net the Military Channel, TBIvision has learned.

Discovery inked a seven-year representation deal for a 130-hour catalogue of VGRTK Russian history programming at the end of last month and launched it internationally at MIP TV this week. Programming includes World War II, Cold War and biography docs, none of which have been seen outside Russia before.

The distribution deal allowed Discovery networks to air content from the catalogue and the Discovery-owned Military Channel has taken 40 hours of the content.

“We have found a lot of content in there that has not been exploited worldwide,” said Rex Recka, VP, acquisitions & co-finance, Discovery Enterprises International (DEI).

He added that DEI wants to pick up libraries of programming for international distribution. “The Russian deal is the foundation of a new initiative and we are looking for other catalogues,”  Recka said.

He added: “There are a few areas where we would like more content, we’re looking for other catalogues. We want natural history, childrens, biography and culture-related programming. There are a lot of good producers and content owners that don’t necessarily know how to do distribution – and we can do that.”