Viacom Buys Remaining Stake in Italian Kids Channel Super!

Courtesy of Viacom International Media Networks
Raffaele Annecchino, president and managing director, Southern and Western Europe, Middle East & Africa at Viacom International Media Networks - H 2019 [nid:1248658]

The company has owned a 50 percent stake in the free-to-air network, which focuses on children aged 4 to 14 with a mix of local and international content, since a 2017 deal with Italian media firm De Agostini Editore.

Viacom's Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) on Friday unveiled the acquisition of the remaining 50 percent stake in Italian free-to-air kids network Super!, which has so far been operated as a joint venture.

Viacom took a 50 percent stake in the channel, which focuses on children aged 4 to 14 with a mix of local and international content, in 2017 in an agreement with Italian media company De Agostini Editore. The deal for full control came at a price tag that the company didn't disclose. De Agostini Editore will continue to work with VIMN Italy and keep providing original content to the channel. 

Italy, which has the most free-to-air channels of any European TV market and is the third-largest European territory in terms of advertising revenue, has long been a focus market for Viacom, which has added free-to-air brands to its pay TV presence there. "Free-to-air channel launches have helped us significantly expand our reach amongst Italian TV viewers, and we’re ambitious for future share growth in this valuable and important TV market," David Lynn, president and CEO of VIMN, had said in 2017. 

Viacom has so far fully owned and operated three free-to-air digital terrestrial TV channels in Italy: Paramount Network, Spike and VH1. It also owns 11 branded channels, including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., which are distributed on pay TV platform Sky Italia.

Viacom said the acquisition of Super! will allow it to reach more than 35 million viewers per month in Italy and further strengthen its position in the country. Super!'s TV audience share amounted to 7.5 percent in the demo of children aged 4- to 14 from June through August, according to the firm.

The deal comes ahead of Viacom's planned combination with sibling company CBS Corp., which is expected to close in the coming months.

"I’m pleased to confirm this new achievement in our ongoing strategy to strengthen our presence in Italy, a market where we have a strong position on pay TV with our main brands and premium content, including Nickelodeon," said Raffaele Annecchino, president and managing director, Southern and Western Europe, Middle East and Africa at VIMN. "The acquisition of Super! further reinforces the VIMN relevance in the kids’ segment in Italy and increases the exposure of our properties and touchpoints."

Added Pierfrancesco Gherardi, managing director digital division of De Agostini Editore: "The success of Super! has gone far beyond our expectations: launched in 2012 in an overcrowded market, by 2018 the channel had gained a leading position in the kids Italian sector, which was achieved for a second year in 2019."