Disney Channel to launch with ads in Russia

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? Disney says it will launch a free-to-air version of its Disney Channel in Russia supported by ads. That’s different than the home-grown version, which has no ads that aren’t from Disney and requires a pay TV subscription.

The launch is with partner UTH Russia. The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday that it would acquire a 49 percent stake in the Seven TV network from UTH. The Disney Channel will replace the current programming on that network.

At launch it will reach about 40 million homes, or about 75 percent of Russia’s measured audience.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.