U.K. Producers Reps Set for Viacom Talks After $760 Million Channel 5 Buy
LONDON – British trade body the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact) aims to meet with Viacom, the new owners of U.K. broadcaster Channel 5, "very soon."
The trade body wants to talk relationships, rights and terms of engagement between the conglomerate and the British independent production scene.
The tete-a-tete between Pact and Channel 5's new owners will come on the back of a series of meetings the trade body had been having with the broadcaster's previous owners, Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell.
Viacom won an auction for Channel 5 after agreeing to acquire the U.K. broadcaster for $760 million, adding a free-to-air presence in Britain, where it already has about 20 programming services.
The deal marked the company's biggest acquisition since Viacom and CBS Corp. split in early 2006.
Pact represents the commercial interests of independent feature filmmakers, television producers, and digital, children's and animation media companies.
Pact chief executive John McVay said: "I am sure indies will see Channel 5’s acquisition as an opportunity to do business with one of the world’s biggest media companies. Historically, Channel 5 has been the home for content from many of the U.K.’s independent production companies."
McVay said he hopes to kickstart "positive dialogue with Viacom as soon as possible."
Added McVay: "The U.S. broadcasters are very familiar with British creative content and programming from U.K. indies has never been in greater demand from American interests."