Viacom to launch Spike in UK

October 8, 2014 12.00 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman has announced the launch of the Spike brand in the UK, ahead of a potential international push.

Speaking to the Broadcasting Press Guild in London, Dauman said the launch had been made possible through May’s £450 million purchase of Channel 5.

“Having Channel 5 join us has made it possible for us to accelerate the deployment of this brand starting here. It will be on Freeview and managed on Channel 5 and will begin with a combination of fact-based and reality programming from Channel 5 and Spike in the US,” he said. “Our intention to expand the Spike brand around the world, so it will become a major global brand,” he said. Dauman said the Spike launch was just one indicator of the strategic value of Channel 5 to Viacom as a whole.

When it launches next Spring, Spike will take the Freeview slot currently occupied by Viva, which will continue on cable and satellite.

Spike, whose airtime sales will be handled by Sky Media, will also seek carriage on cable and satellite platforms.

London has become a strategic post for Viacom; it now employs 11,000 staff here, representing 11,000 posts or 10% of its workforce, the third largest centre after Los Angeles and New York.

“We will be here on every platform people want to use. We will bring our UK knowhow and our global knowhow,” said Dauman.

One example is Mon Nick Junior, the French educational VOD service that is advertising free, and has subsequently rolled out in other markets as My Nick Junior.

Dauman told the BPG that he was following the vision set out by majority owner Sumner Redstone, now 91, many years ago and that after a decade of uncertainty Viacom would “own Channel 5 forever”.