The auction of Britain’s Channel 5 has come to an end. Viacom and Northern & Shell Media Group have agreed to a deal that will see Viacom International Media Networks pay £450M ($757M) for the broadcaster. Northern & Shell boss Richard Desmond acquired the free-to-air network in 2010 for £103.5M and was believed to be seeking a buyer willing to pay about £700M. As late as last month, Discovery and BSkyB were said to be teaming up to jointly bid about £350M for Channel 5, but the parties ultimately decided not to go forward. Viacom’s acquisition of Channel 5, which averages about a 4% share, will make it the first U.S. group to own a British public service broadcaster. The network is home to Big Brother and airs such U.S. dramas as Under The Dome, CSI and Person Of Interest. Channel 5 does not have much in-house product, but Viacom today said the deal would “dramatically increase” its investment in UK-produced content, which is good news for producers in the increasingly hot UK TV sector. Viacom’s international reach through its pay-TV businesses will also be seen as a lucrative window for UK producers. “We look forward to partnering with local producers to introduce more UK-created content to global audiences, and will continue to explore opportunities in the UK, both in the free-to-air …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Vice Media, FremantleMedia Team On Food Platform; ‘Rectify’, ‘Mr Selfridge’ Headed To France & Germany; More
Vice Media, FremantleMedia Team On Food Platform
Vice Media and FremantleMedia are teaming to create a create a multi-channel food platform aimed at a millennial audience. The companies will develop and produce digital content for the yet-unnamed Vice food vertical, which FremantleMedia will take to TV around the world. The venture will offer original video content, editorial features, articles, how-tos, recipes and events, providing a perspective on the intersection where humans and food connect. Recurring franchises will focus on subjects ranging from the politics of food to world travel and cuisine to an irreverent look at home cooking. Content will be available on multiple platforms, including Vice.com, Noisey and Motherboard.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BT Nets NBA Games; Comedy Central Has New Overseas Projects; Salman Khan; BAFTA; More
BT Sport Scores NBA Games In Multi-Year Deal
Britain’s aggressive BT Sport has closed a multi-year, multi-platform deal with the NBA for up to 200 games a season including regular and playoff action. Although BT has been facing off with rival Sky, which previously had the NBA games under a short-term deal, I understand the News Corp-controlled company did not bid on rights for the coming basketball seasons. BT will broadcast up to seven live games per week in the UK and Ireland starting with the Pacers at the Clippers on December 1st. Sunday games will air in UK primetime. Also included in the partnership will be several magazine shows like NBA Action, NBA Inside Stuff, NBA Tonight and NBA Countdown, while some games will stream live online.
Global Showbiz Briefs: MTV Brazil, Nigeria’s ‘Half Of A Yellow Sun’ To Open TTFF, MIPCOM Honors Jeffrey Katzenberg, ‘Pulp’ Heads To Oz, New Zealand On Xbox
Viacom International To Launch MTV Brazil
Viacom International Media Networks is expanding its presence in Brazil with the launch of a new MTV channel on the country’s Pay TV platform. MTV Brazil will deliver more than 350 hours of local programming spanning daily formats, celeb realities, sitcoms, music, extreme sports and adult animations. The cable network will also debut formats from Viacom’s international content portfolio with local versions of World Stage, Guy Code and Pranked, in addition to other MTV global content in Portuguese (Snookie & Jwow, Ridiculousness and Awkward). The new channel will debut in October across key cable operators in Brazil.
Nigeria’s ‘Half Of A Yellow Sun’ To Open TTFF
The Nigerian drama Half Of A Yellow Sun has been selected as the opening film of the 2013 trinidad+tobago film festival. Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in the adaptation of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel of the same title. Set in 1960s Nigeria, the story brings audiences into a country torn apart by civil war and shows how the interwoven lives of four central characters intersect during a struggle to establish an independent republic of Nigeria. Biyi Bandele directs. The festival runs from September 17-October 1.
Viacom International Media Networks and Russia’s ProfMedia will dissolve their partnership at the end of May next year. The decision, the companies said, was mutual. In 2007, Viacom licensed MTV Russia and VH1 Russia to ProfMedia in a reported $360M deal. VIMN today said Russia “remains a critically important market” where the company is “exploring many opportunities for MTV.” The flagship channel recently celebrated year-on-year ratings gains in the territory and a joint statement notes, “While the two companies have different visions for the future, both VIMN and ProfMedia are committed to providing Russian audiences with the best in music and entertainment through their new ventures.” MTV’s music channels which VIMN operates in Russia
Aussie Comedy Creators Sign With Gersh
Trent O’Donnell and Phil Lloyd, who created Australian TV comedy Review With Myles Barlow, have signed with the Gersh Agency just as the show’s U.S. adaptation, Review With Forrest MacNeil, goes into production for Comedy Central. O’Donnell is a writer-director and Lloyd is a writer-actor who played the lead in Review with Myles Barlow. O’Donnell says he and Lloyd plan to travel to the U.S. early next year to look for opportunities as creators-showrunners. The pair, who are partners in Australian production company Jungleboys, also created A Moody Christmas, a comedy series for Australia’s ABC-TV in which each of the six episodes focuses on the dysfunctional Moody family on Christmas Day one year apart. DCD Rights is the international distributor of A Moody Christmas.
Global Showbiz Briefs: News Corp/Consolidated Media, Digital Screens Surge In Asia-Pacific, Viacom’s Tr3s
News Corp Close On $2B Deal for Consolidated Media
News Corp’s $A1.94B ($2.02B) bid for Consolidated Media Holdings moved forward after a majority of CMH’s directors urged shareholders to accept the offer at a special meeting on October 31. The move suggests Seven Group Holdings, which owns 24% of CMH, has decided not to launch a counterbid for the media investment company which owns 25% of Australian pay-TV platform Foxtel and 50% of the lucrative Fox Sports channels. Seven asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to review whether it could buy the balance of the shares. The regulator said its preliminary view was that the proposed acquisition was likely to raise competition concerns by limiting the ability of the Seven Network’s rival free-to-air channels from bidding for premium sporting rights. The regulator’s decision is expected on October 11. If News succeeds it will have 50% of Foxtel and will wholly own Fox Sports. – Don Groves
The news today from Viacom International Media Networks should amuse anyone who saw Exporting Raymond — the hilarious 2010 documentary about efforts by tone-deaf Russian producers and actors to develop their own version of Everybody Loves Raymond. VIMN says that its Paramount Comedy channel is about to go out to 4M subscribers of Russia’s largest cable operator, National Cable Networks (NCN). Viacom says that it recently launched Paramount Comedy as an extension of the Moscow-based version of Comedy Central which it describes as a “24-hour, fully-localised and ad-supported premium comedy channel.” Viacom adds that Paramount Comedy has a new agreement enabling it to offer more than 300 hours of comedy programming from Warner Bros International Television Distribution. It includes Russian language dubs of sitcoms including The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, 2 Broke Girls, and the first six seasons of Friends. VIMN has 18 comedy channels in more than 40 countries outside of the US. The list includes Comedy Central in Latin America, India and Africa; Comedy Central Extra in the Netherlands; and Paramount Comedy in Russia.
LONDON/MILAN/NYC, 28th March 2012: Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a division of Viacom Inc, (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB) today announces the promotion of Roberto Bagatti to Senior Vice President, Youth and Music Brands, VIMN, and Creative Director, MTV World Design Studio. Based in Milan at the MTV World Design Studio, Bagatti reports to Antonio Campo Dall’Orto, Executive Vice President, Music Brands, for VIMN.
MADRID, March 27, 2012 – Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a division of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), one of the world’s premier entertainment companies, and Vocento, the leading communications and multimedia group in Spain, today announced that the new PARAMOUNT CHANNEL will begin broadcasting on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) in Spain Friday, March 30th, with the 10:00pm premiere of one of the most successful films in the history of cinema, The Godfather.
Bob Bakish, who came aboard as CEO of Viacom International Media Networks in January, used his afternoon keynote at MIPCOM today to tout the “glocal” production model: developing shows locally that are then formatted and resold around the world. American networks are becoming much more responsive to TV shows developed overseas and then imported, he said, giving as an example House of Anubis, a Dutch telenovela picked up by Nickelodeon for the U.S. Launches of non-U.S. shows on the big five American TV networks have quadrupled in five years; last year, 53 non-U.S. shows debuted on networks compared with 12 in 2005. Said Bakish: “It’s critical that we have product that reflects local tastes, but it’s also critical that we capitalize on economies of scale.”
London/Warsaw, 6 May 2011: Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a unit of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), and Endemol, the largest independent television and digital production company in the world, today announced a strategic partnership to launch a new entertainment brand for women targeted to 16-49 year olds – Viacom Blink! It will debut in Poland in summer 2011 and will be available in more than one million households through two leading pay TV platforms, Multimedia Polska and N Platform, as well as other local distributors. VIMN and Endemol are also exploring additional international distribution opportunities, specifically in Central Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.
NEW YORK, Jan. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Viacom Inc. announced today that it has appointed Robert Bakish to the newly created position of President and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks. Mr. Bakish was previously President of MTV Networks International. In his new role, he will oversee Viacom’s Media Networks properties that operate outside the U.S., including MTV Networks International, as well as BET Networks’ international channels and non-premium Paramount branded networks. Mr. Bakish will also continue to serve as Chairman of Viacom 18, the Company’s joint venture in India, and as a member of the boards of Viacom’s joint ventures with BSkyB and Telecom Italia Media.
Based in New York, Mr. Bakish will report directly to Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman. He will continue to work closely with MTV Networks Chairman and CEO, Judy McGrath, as well as with BET Networks Chairman and CEO, Debra Lee, and with Paramount Pictures Chairman and CEO, Brad Grey.
Viacom International Media Networks comprises 145 television channels in 160 countries and territories, as well as related digital properties and consumer products businesses. Its premium entertainment brands MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1, VIVA, TMF (The Music Factory) and Game One reach nearly 650 million households.