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Bridge Media to Start Up Foreign-Language TV Channel in 2014

Bridge Media will launch a travel television channel for foreign audiences in January 2014, making it the country's second broadcaster with foreign-language programs after RT, formerly Russia Today.

Travel Guide International, which will broadcast nature, travel and science documentaries filmed by its Russian-language counterpart Russian Travel Guide, has reached a deal with Luxembourg-based SES to use its Astra satellite system for broadcasts to Europe, Bridge Media director Fyodor Strizhkov said, Kommersant reported Thursday.

Bridge Media has also signed deals with cable television companies in 11 countries, including Finland, Israel, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, to include the travel channel in their packages. The company expects to earn a base rate of around $0.08 per subscriber from the cable operators, though the actual rates may vary depending on the country and the number of subscribers, Strizhkov said.

The initial broadcasts will be in English and Turkish, thought German may be added later, as some German companies have expressed an interest in the programs, Strizhkov added.

The channel expects to attract about 18 million viewers.

The audience of RT, considered by many to be a mouthpiece for the Kremlin, is estimated at 644 million people.

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