ITV Acquires Minority Stake in MCN Channel Mum

ITV CEO Adam Crozier

The deal for the YouTube network targeting mothers is the U.K. TV giant's first move into the multi-channel network space.

ITV, led by CEO Adam Crozier, said Tuesday that it has acquired a minority stake in Channel Mum, a multi-channel network targeting mothers.

Financial details and the size of the stake weren't disclosed.

The deal follows ITV’s recent strategic investments in U.S. video content companies Believe Entertainment, Indigenous Media and Zealot Networks.‎ ITV has also been acquiring TV production companies, but the deal is its first move into the MCN space.

Other media and entertainment companies have also bought MCNs amid growing online video viewership. Among others, Walt Disney owns Maker Studios, and Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 and pan-European broadcaster RTL have also acquired MCNs.

Channel Mum was only launched in January by Siobhan Freegard, one of the founders of parenting web site Netmums.

“Siobhan Freegard is a hugely successful entrepreneur with a proven track record in digital business," said ITV’s managing director of online, pay, interactive & technology, Simon Pitts. "She and her team at Channel Mum have a brilliant understanding of content, advertisers and mothers and how they can work together to produce genuinely appealing, authentic content."

Said Freegard: “I am so pleased that ITV has seen the potential of Channel Mum, recognizing millennial mums as an important and growing demographic. Our research shows that brands are keen to connect with these women in a meaningful way.”

Analysts said the deal likely didn't cost ITV much but gave it a foothold in a new space. "Given ITV's financial firepower, more of these sorts of deals are possible," said Liberum Capital analyst Ian Whittaker. He said it was "interesting in that it is ITV's first move into the MCN/YouTube channels business."

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