Friday, 29 August 2014

Broadcast: Viacom poised to seal C5 deal.

Story thanks to Broadcastnow:

Viacom’s £450m acquisition of Channel 5 is set to close next month and the two companies have opened content-sharing talks.

It is understood the deal will be finalised by 20 September, giving the US media giant – which operates MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon – full control of the public service broadcaster.

The UK government will usher the takeover through after Viacom agreed to honour C5’s commitment to commission 600 hours of original British children’s programming annually, which was agreed as part of the public service broadcaster’s licence renewal last year.

A Department for Culture Media and Sport source suggested that Viacom had raised “one or two issues” about the kids’ content commitment when seeking regulatory approval for the C5 deal, but it is understood that these have now been ironed out.

Viacom has already opened talks between its current channel brands and C5’s commissioning team, with an eye on the services sharing content.

MTV UK vice-president of production Steve Regan told the Edinburgh International TV Festival that he has met C5 director of programmes Ben Frow to discuss “potential cross-over slots”.

Comedy will be a major focus for the merged group and C5 is set to partner with Comedy Central on projects over the next 12 months.

Frow said he would work closely with Comedy Central UK managing director Jill Offman and her team.

“Comedy is something that we can get our teeth into with the new Viacom relationship. That will be very promising over the next year or year-and-a-half,” he said.

“C5 should be evolving and trying new things.”

The partnership could rekindle the Five/Paramount Comedy co-pro initiative from almost a decade ago.

However, existing MTV commissions will not end up on C5 once the deal is closed.

Viacom-operated channels have exclusivity agreements in place with pay-TV broadcaster Sky over original content, which means shows such as Ex On The Beach and Geordie Shore are unlikely to move to the free-to-air network in the near future.

We at Media Boy HQ also thinks with Arqiva offering new capacity to launch new TV services via Freeview we think one of the slots will come from VIVA with VIVA moving to Channel 5 + 24 slot on Freeview from mid-November 2014.