Ofcom approves Channel 5 licence after Viacom takeover
| 23 October 2014
US content giant Viacom has passed its final regulatory hurdle following its takeover of the UK's fifth largest broadcaster Channel 5.
UK regulator Ofcom is required by law to carry out a change of control review if channels change ownership. This review must consider the effect, or likely effects, of the change of control of the station in question on the time allocated to news and current affairs; original UK TV programmes; and programmes produced outside the greater London region.
In its review of what effect the acquisition would have on services and commitments, Ofcom noted that prior to the sale, Channel 5 had significantly increased the amount of news programmes and original productions it broadcast in peak time. Ofcom's review concluded that the change of control would not be prejudicial to any of the above matters.
During the change of control review, Viacom offered to increase its key licence quotas to bring them closer to these higher levels. The regulator has thus increased the minimum quotas in the Channel 5 licence for original production in peak-time from 40% to 45%; news in total from 260 hours per year to 280 hours per year; and news in peak time from 100 hours per year to 120 hours per year.