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C5 programme budget to rise in double digit increase

C5 programme budget to rise in double digit increase
Tim Dams
16 September 2015

Channel 5 is to get a double digit increase to its programme budget, according to Viacom boss Philippe Dauman.

US media conglomerate Viacom paid £463m for Channel 5 last year, acquiring it from Richard Desmond.

Speaking at the RTS Cambridge Convention, Dauman also said Channel 5's on air branding would be refreshed in the year ahead.

Dauman added that C5 was preparing to ‘beef up our news service on Channel 5’.

Under the terms of its acquisition of Channel 5, Viacom agreed with regulator Ofcom that it would increase the amount of original programming on the channel as well as increasing its total news output.

Channel 5 currently spends £200m a year on programming.

“We pledged that we would increase investment in original content,” said Dauman, adding: “The programme budget should see a double digit gain in 2015/16.

Viacom became the first American media company to own a terrestrial UK channel when it bought Channel 5.

Dauman praised the UK creative industries in his address to the RTS Cambridge Convention, saying that the UK was its most important source of original content outside the US and that 10% of Viacom’s total workforce was based in the UK. “We think the UK is a great market,” he said.

Since acquiring Channel 5, Viacom – which also owns MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central – has launched new entertainment channel Spike in the UK. He said Viacom saw a lot of room for further growth in the UK.

Viacom’s share price has been hit in recent months amid fears that viewers are engaging less with traditional broadcasters in favour of digital competitors.

Dauman said it was important to “look through” commentary from people who “start awfulising”. He said they wrongly assume that content companies, which have been in business a long time and have adapted over the years, like Viacom, are not going to be able to adapt to the changing landscape.

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