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C5 increases original production and news quotas with Ofcom

C5 increases original production and news quotas with Ofcom
Staff Reporter
23 October 2014

Channel 5 has agreed an increase in its quota for original UK production in peak from 40% to 45% with media regulator Ofcom.

More than half of the channel’s peak time schedule is now originated, and new owner Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) has committed to maintain this investment in original UK production.

C5 has also renewed ITN’s contract to produce its 5 News bulletins and agreed an increase in its annual news quotas with media regulator, Ofcom.

ITN’s contract to produce 5 News has been extended by an additional two years through to early 2017, one of the first long-term supply deals Channel 5 has struck since Viacom completed its acquisition of the UK public service broadcaster last month.

At the same time, Viacom has agreed a change to the terms of its public service licence with Ofcom to increase its minimum quota of news programmes in peak by 20%, from 100 hours to 120 hours annually. Channel 5’s all hours news quota will rise by the same amount, from 260 hours to 280 hours annually.

The changes are part of a ‘change of control’ review overseen by Ofcom following C5’s sale by Northern & Shell to the US media group.

Ofcom is required by law to carry out a ‘change of control’ review if there is a change of ownership of C5.

Ofcom’s review must consider the effects of the change of control of C5 on the time allocated to news and current affairs, original UK TV programmes, and programmes produced outside the M25.

Before the sale, Channel 5 had significantly increased the amount of news programmes and original productions it broadcast in peak time.

During the change of control review, Ofcom said that Viacom had stated its commitment to invest in original UK TV production and news on Channel 5.

The company also offered to increase its key licence quotas to bring them closer to the higher levels of news and original productions on Channel 5 prior to the sale.

David Lynn, President, VIMN UK, said: “We’re very pleased to have this early opportunity to demonstrate Channel 5’s unambiguous commitment to news programming under Viacom’s ownership. The 5 News team at ITN has done a widely admired job in differentiating its bulletins to engage audiences that aren’t being reached by other broadcasters and they should be very proud of the recognition their efforts have received.”

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Group Director of Consumer and Content, said: “Ofcom is pleased that Viacom has shown a strong commitment to invest in original UK productions and news on Channel 5. These are important features of public service broadcasting that we know viewers value highly.”

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