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Russia: BBC inks First HD Deal

Russian viewers are about to get some of their first HD content from a well-known Western source, BBC Worldwide — which recently licensed hundreds of program hours to more than a dozen broadcasters across Central and Eastern Europe.

A Russian cable-DBS distributor, First HDTV, picked up more than 50 hours of British HD content, according to BBCWW, including “Cranford” (a drama) and the first several episodes of “Gavin and Stacey” (a sitcom). Meanwhile, the Russian version of MTV has licensed all episodes of sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous” and the first couple of seasons of “Scallywagga.” (A typical BBC “season” is about 10-12 episodes, which is about half the number of new shows for a full season in America.)

Besides Russia, BBCWW has recently the sold “Life,” a natural history series to Latin American broadcasters TV Globo (Brazil), TVN (Chile), CBC (Barbados) and Discovery Latin America (regional). “Life” is narrated by David Attenborough, the narrator and a producer of “Earth” and other highly acclaimed HD documentaries. (In America, the Discovery Channel version of “Earth” was narrated by Sigourney Weaver.)