RBC Information Systems, a Russian media group acquired a 51% stake in Fidel.ru, an online retailer of digital music and other content. The deal is valued at $8.5 million including an investment commitment over the next three years and option to increase the stake to 75%.
Fidel.ru sells copyright protected digital content including music, audio books, mobile entertainment and computer games. The site was created in 2005 and now has over 1 million unique visitors per month.
According to RBC’s official press release, “Much of Russia’s online digital music market, worth about $30 million [per year] in players’ estimation, remains illegal. However, Part 4 of Russia’s Civil Code, which regulates intellectual property matters, came into force on January 1, 2008 and bans online music sales through so-called collective copyright management. From now on, only direct agreements between copyright owners and retailers are considered legal.”
Below is an example of a Fidel.ru’s promotion when a purchaser can redeem a check code for digital content on Fidel.ru
With an acquisition of Audible by Amazon for $300 million today, I agree that “march into digital content distribution continues“. See the reactions to the deal on Engadget.