After consolidating the content catalogs across its holdings earlier this year, Russia’s National Media Group is ready to shore up its international sales through Art Pictures Distribution, the exclusive distributor of content produced across the group’s media properties, including a range of terrestrial and satellite broadcasters, the production company Art Pictures Studio (“Sputnik,” “Invasion”), and the recently launched OTT platform more.tv.
Diana Yurinova, who was appointed as the distributor’s executive vice president earlier this year, says the time is right to take the National Media Group’s robust content offerings and look beyond the domestic market. “We have a lot of premium content,” she says. “Why don’t we sell it [internationally] as well?”
Since joining the company earlier, Yurinova has been busy securing licensing agreements and looking at ways to boost foreign sales from the National Media Group’s extensive content catalog. Moving forward, she says, the group’s many production arms will also place a stronger emphasis on the international potential of new content before production even begins.
Her team is now working to grow the company’s brand, showcasing new content and familiarizing foreign buyers with the Art Pictures Distribution banner, with Yurinova noting that “50% of [a company’s] success depends on trust.”
The distributor has had a string of international successes in recent years, including the alien invasion flick “Attraction,” which sold to more than 80 territories, and the sci-fi thriller “Sputnik,” which was picked up by IFC Midnight for U.S. theatrical release.
It’s now looking to launch sales on a broad slate of original TV series, formats, and feature films across a range of genres, capitalizing on what Yurinova sees as increased demand for Russian content. “The interest in Russian assets is growing,” she says, pointing to such hits as the Netflix plague thriller “To the Lake,” which has appeared on the streaming service’s top 10 list worldwide.
Among the titles the company is now taking to the global market are six seasons of “The Kitchen,” a smash hit series that follows the dreams, passions, love affairs and intrigues among the staff of an upscale restaurant; “Lanky Girls,” a comedy series that follows the travails of a volleyball coach who tries to revive his career by leading the women’s university team in his provincial hometown to glory; “Psycho,” a sci-fi thriller series revolving around the lonely and confused inhabitants of an unnamed metropolis; and “Chicks” (pictured), a dramedy series that follows a group of women brought together by the hard realities of working in a brothel, which has racked up more than 11 million views since bowing this June on more.tv.
Also on its slate is the format “Children vs. Adults,” a game show that pits two generations of a family against each other, which won the Pitch & Play Live! competition at this year’s NATPE Budapest virtual market. The company has had great success selling its formats to Eastern European markets, says Yurinova, although interest has also been growing from territories including South Korea.
Art Pictures Distribution has also inked a number of acquisition deals in Russia with the likes of studios such as Warner Bros., ViacomCBS, MGM, Paramount and Sony Pictures.
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