Viacom boss Philippe Dauman told investors yesterday that the £450 million acquisition of Channel 5 will boost its international programme sales business and, as original content efforts are ramped up at the UK channel, provide content for the US company’s new and existing international channels.
“We are truly excited by the potential Channel 5 will bring to us, not just in the UK, but in our operations around the world,” Dauman said in the wake of the deal.
He said that the UK commercial broadcaster will start to run programming from Viacom nets and will also push more heavily into originals. That effort will yield shows that can be syndicated internationally to its own channels and third parties: “We believe that we will be able to invest in more programming for Channel 5 that will make the channel even more vibrant and utilize some of that programming on our UK pay channels and even more importantly, on our existing and future networks around the world.”
As well as feeding content to the VIMN sales pipeline and existing Viacom nets, the acquisition also allow the company pursue wider plans to launch new channels. Dauman said: “We are planning to launch more brands internationally, and the programming that we develop in the UK, when added to the programming we develop in the US and the local programming we produce in other geographies, will accelerate our ability to launch new brands, targeted at new demographics around the world.”
Speaking about the combined opportunities across the free-TV and pay footprint the Channel 5 deal will give Viacom, Dauman noted kids is an obvious opportunity, with Viacom running Nickelodeon and Channel 5 the popular Milkshake! kids strand: “We think by marrying Milkshake! with some of the Nickelodeon capabilities and programming, there is opportunity to grow both sides of the house.”
The deal, announced yesterday, needs to be rubber-stamped by regulators. It followed an auction process that commenced in January and which saw numerous heavyweight media companies linked to the UK broadcaster. Under the ownership of Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell, the fortunes of ad-revenue funded Channel 5 have been turned around, although it remains the smallest of the core free-to-air broadcasters in the UK.