As higher advertising revenues led Viacom to see profits rise to US$502 million during its second quarter of 2014, the Nickelodeon and MTV owner has made a move to boost its UK audience with the acquisition of Channel 5 Broadcasting for US$760 million.
The deal for the British free-to-air broadcaster’s brands and assets was inked with Northern & Shell Media Group, which, through entrepreneur Richard Desmond, has owned Channel 5 since 2010.
The deal will increase Viacom’s investment in content produced in the UK and will also serve to complement Viacom’s existing pay TV networks in the region, which is where it launched MTV in 1987, followed by Nickelodeon in 1993 and Comedy Central in 1995. There are now more than 20 branded Viacom TV networks on air in the UK.
Currently, Channel 5′s channels, which includes preschool brand Milkshake!, are viewed by more than 42 million UK viewers every month.
Channel 5 will undoubtedly benefit from Viacom’s expanding ad network. Global ad revenues for Viacom increased 3% in Q2 to US$1.12 billion, while domestic advertising increased an overall 2%.
The 6% boost in revenues within the company’s Media Networks division, whose channels such as Nick Jr., TeenNick and Nicktoons helped bring home a total of US$2.38 billion, were offset by a 12% decline in the Filmed Entertainment division. Theatrical revenues decreased 17% from the prior year, as strong domestic carryover revenues from The Wolf of Wall Street were more than offset by lower international theatrical revenues. Worldwide home entertainment revenues continued to drop, this time by 30%, primarily driven by fewer current quarter releases and a decrease in carryover revenues.