Viacom buys U.K. free-to-air network Channel 5 for $757 million

By Chelsea Lewis ,

Mass media company Viacom, has won the rights to the U.K. free-to-air TV net Channel 5 in a deal that ended up with a $757 million price tag. Viacom bought the channel from Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell Media Group.

This makes the mass media company the first American company to control a free-to-air network over the in the U.K. This network already operates 20 channels in the territory some of which include; MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. The Viva channel is free, the rest have to be paid for, Variety reported.

Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman, discussed the purchase saying that this deal has now opened the possibility to others in the U.K. through additional avenues. "The acquisition of Channel 5 accelerates Viacom’s strategy in the U.K., one of the world’s most important and valuable media markets. Viacom will continue to explore opportunities in the U.K., both in the free-to-air and pay television market," said Dauman.

The Wall Street Journal added that the deal also provides Viacom with the chance to increase audience numbers and build familiarity with British audiences. This would also provide the company with a chance to take this original programming to other markets in other countries.



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