For some time now, rumours have been circulating about a major US-owned broadcaster in the running to buy Channel 5. Viacom has now been confirmed as the successful bidder. Contracts and due diligence will take a few months to complete, but Channel 5 will have a new owner ahead of the all-important Autumn trading season.
Viacom’s President & CEO of Global Networks Bob Bakish was in town last week and came to see us with David Lynn, the Managing Director & Executive Vice President of a number of key markets including the UK. They were full of excitement and enthusiasm about the possibilities that exist for the future of Channel 5, and were looking forward to exploring the right commercial sales structure with a number of key old Viacom colleagues that have helped to make Channel 5 such a success story under Richard Desmond.
Viacom are a great content business with particular strengths in comedy, kids, music and entertainment. Maybe with the exception of music, all could add a great deal to enrich Channel 5’s free-to-air offering. Viacom also very much believe in the strength and creativity in the UK television market and look forward to developing new content and formats in the UK that could work across their networks globally.
We think it is a really exciting time for Channel 5 and Viacom’s acquisition is a smart move to strengthen their UK broadcast offering. We also think that Viacom’s content strength and UK ambition is great news – because a stronger Channel 5 is good for advertisers and the wider UK Television Industry.