Cable Congress 2018: Viacom vouches for value of Channel 5 acquisition
| 07 March 2018

Buying UK broadcaster Channel 5 has proved to be a big step up Viacom for whom its successful and dynamic Nordic business is also likely to be a template for other global business, said VIMN Northern and Eastern Europe president James Currell.

Speaking at Cable Congress 2018, Currell said that digital disruption was all around his area of responsibility and that it was spread very differently: from the hugely dynamic Nordic region driven my mobile access to the UK where linear is still strong and East Europe where linear TV still dominates.

Of the linear channels chiming for Viacom, none seems as vibrant as Channel 5 which since being part of the Viacom fold was described as a really big step up and a real success. This success, Currell noted, showed that the company's focus still remained on traditional pay-TV providers. "We still believe in the bundle," he said, "and we will support our partners."

Yet what Currell felt could really be the model going forward for the company was Paramount Plus in the Nordic region. The package is a higher-tier set-top-box offer which gives access to first-window films and leading pay-TV brands. Currell sees an opportunity to introduce the same model elsewhere, potentially as a mobile app.

Looking to the future, Currell said that the firm was seeing a real positive shift I the content industry. Ten years ago, the basic job was adding US content to individual pipelines, but it was all about owning content in local markets. "People like stories about them," Currell noted. "We are investing $1 billion a year in content origination - this is around 800 hours of content...[Our] source of growth is further investment in local originated content."