Warner Music International and Beeline Enter Landmark Content Agreement

08/10/06
Leading Russian mobile network to launch music platform with exclusive Madonna content

08/10/2006 - Warner Music International (WMI) today announced a landmark agreement with leading Russian mobile telecommunications operator, VimpelCom, and its Beeline service. Under the terms of the deal, WMI will be the inaugural label partner for Beeline's new mobile music platform, which will provide more than 50 million Beeline subscribers with access to a broad portfolio of WMI music content and will launch with a range of exclusive Madonna products. This partnership makes WMI the first major music company to enter a direct, catalogue-wide content agreement with a mobile operator in Russia, underscoring WMI's commitment to delivering ground-breaking digital music services around the world.

The new Beeline music platform will launch later this month, linking digital content and live performance from one of WMI's most popular global superstars to deliver an experience of unprecedented scale for Madonna fans in Russia. A rich menu of Madonna content will include ringtones, real tones, full-track downloads and video clips, with each product enjoying a five-month window of exclusivity on Beeline's mobile music platform. In addition, Beeline will be the headline sponsor of Madonna's forthcoming concert in Moscow, her first-ever performance in Russia, and will give users the opportunity to win tickets to the show.

VimpelCom is a leading mobile telecom operator in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia and has pioneered the development and emergence of the mass consumer market for wireless telecommunications in Russia. With more than 50 million subscribers, Vimpel?om has over a third of the mobile business in Russia, providing an extensive base from which to launch a compelling wireless music service to audiences in the region.

Alex Zubillaga, Executive Vice President, Digital Strategy and Business Development, Warner Music Group commented, "This is an exciting deal for Warner Music, not only because it provides Russian audiences a unique way to connect with Madonna, but also because one of our most iconic and popular artists will introduce music fans to Beeline's new mobile music service. We are delighted to be able to extend the reach of our artists' repertoire through Beeline's new music portal and to be at the forefront of providing legal digital music services in this region."

Patrick Vien, Chairman and CEO, Warner Music International, added, "This agreement with VimpelCom is the result of many months of working in partnership to pool both our knowledge and experience and create compelling digital music experiences for the rapidly-evolving Russian market. We are pleased to have extended our global distribution footprint in Russia and to be working with a company that shares our commitment to developing accessible music services designed to appeal to a broad audience."

Aleksandr Izosimov, CEO of VimpelCom, commented "Today our goal in value-added services is to improve their quality and to expand their range, and we believe that our partnership with WMI will help us to reach a new level in mobile content distribution. Music is an essential part of people's lives. We plan to introduce this new platform and develop exciting projects with our partner's unique content to make sure music is also an essential part of Beeline customers' cellular phones."

This is the latest announcement to highlight WMI's commitment to innovation in the digital space. The company recently announced a tie-up with China Unicom, the world's third-largest mobile operator, to make music content available to its 130 million-strong subscriber base. In May, WMI announced a joint venture with SK Telecom, Korea's foremost broadband and wireless provider. At the end of 2005, WMI launched the first mobile content bundle with KDDI, a package of audio, video, graphic and textual products in a single, downloadable file.

Warner Music International (WMI) is Warner Music Group's global (ex-U.S.) recorded music division that markets and distributes WMG's world-class roster of U.S. and international recording artists through a network of affiliates and licensees in more than 50 countries. With a commitment to developing local talent as well as marketing international superstars, WMI leverages its expertise in each region around the world to attract and cultivate a diverse international artist roster. WMG is a pioneer in delivering music content in new and exciting ways, with a track record of 'firsts' in the digital space.

The VimpelCom Group (Beeline trademark) includes cellular companies operating in Russia and Kazakhstan and recently acquired cellular operators in Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. The VimpelCom Group's cellular license portfolio covers a territory with a population of about 237 million. Geographically, it covers 78 regions of Russia (136.5 million, representing 94% of the Russia's population), and the entire territory of Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. VimpelCom was the first Russian company to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE"). VimpelCom's ADSs are listed on the NYSE under the symbol "VIP".

Source: Warner Music International