Viacom has completed its £450m acquisition of Channel 5 from Northern & Shell Media Group, announcing the first programmes to be commissioned under the new deal.
The deal, which was announced on 1st May this year, was closed this morning after receiving unconditional clearance from the European Commission.
Philippe Dauman, Viacom President and CEO, said: “Our ownership of Channel 5 will significantly increase Viacom’s investment in British creativity and content. We are committed to strengthening Channel 5’s status as one of UK broadcasting’s premier brands, and we will continue to grow the network’s pipeline of original programming with more quality commissions, as well as acquisitions. The addition of Channel 5 will also benefit our existing UK pay television channel portfolio, as demonstrated by the announcement of our first two original programming commissions.
“We are excited about our stewardship of Channel 5 and we look forward to delivering added value for our shareholders, partners and, above all, our audiences.”
To coincide with taking ownership of the UK broadcaster, Viacom announced the first joint commissions between Channel 5 and its UK pay TV channels.
Viacom’s Nickelodeon is joining forces with Channel 5’s pre-school strand, Milkshake, to develop a new animated series, Nella the Knight, intended to be their first co-production under Viacom ownership. The series will be produced in the UK and co-funded by the two broadcasters, who will share broadcast rights, as they already do with a variety of other popular pre-school programmes including Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom and Bubble Guppies. Episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will also begin airing on Channel 5.
In addition, Channel 5 and Viacom’s MTV UK are jointly commissioning a new entertainment series, 10,000 BC, in which 20 volunteers will forgo the comforts and conveniences of modern life to go back to the Stone Age. A 10 x 60 minute series is being produced by The Garden and GroupM Entertainment to premiere on Channel 5 in 2015 with a 5 x 60 minute spin-off show airing on MTV UK.
Viacom has confirmed Channel 5’s advertising sales team will be retained following the closure of the deal and will continue to sell the network’s airtime.
Channel 5’s Commercial Director of Sales, Nick Bampton, and its Chief Operating Officer, Paul Dunthorne, will report separately to David Lynn, EVP, Managing Director of VIMN UK, and join his UK senior management team, along with Channel 5’s Programme Director, Ben Frow.
Lynn said: “Channel 5’s senior executive and sales teams continue to perform strongly and, with an innovative approach to commercial partnerships, have delivered great results. We look forward to working with the senior team and in-house sales staff to build on this success.”