Gazprom Media, the broadcasting wing of the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom, acquired a share in the music television station A-One, which now can become a major player in the struggling music television segment.
"Investment in A-One will allow [Gazprom Media's flagship brand] TNT to increase its presence in the niche channel segment," Artur Dzhanibekyan, head of the entertainment television department at Gazprom Media, told Billboard.
"In the short term, A-One will be re-launched as a youth-focused music station, but it is too early to speak about specifics," he added.
The value of the deal, in which Gazprom Media acquired a 49-percent stake in A-One, has not been disclosed.
A-One, currently focused on hip hop music and culture, will be re-focused to embrace other genres under the name TNT Music.
The station was launched in 2005 and originally focused on rock and alternative music, but when A-One changed hands in 2011, the emphasis shifted to hip-hop.
The arrival of such a strong player at Gazprom Media could revitalize Russia's struggling music television segment.
MTV Russia and its local rival, Muz-TV, were major youth-focused entertainment networks here from the late 1990s through mid-2000s but were later squeezed out by other networks offering broader entertainment than just music. Both stations used to be available as free-to-air content but moved to the pay-TV segment several years ago.
With the average daily viewership of 4.3 million, according to TNS Russia audience counter, Muz-TV is currently the country's most popular music station, followed by Ru.TV, Shanson TV, Bridge TV and Europa Plus TV.