Staff at Channel 5 have been promised that programme budgets will be increased by new owners Viacom.
Last week it was confirmed that the US broadcasting and film giant is to buy the channel from Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell business for £450m.
Viacom already operates a number of pay-TV channels in the UK, including MTV and Comedy Central but it’s acquisition of Channel 5 will overnight transform it into one of the UK’s biggest broadcasters.
Launched in 1997, the UK’s fifth terrestrial channel regularly struggles to break the 2m viewers mark and is overwhelmingly reliant on imports with original programming mostly accounted for by reality TV and lifestyle shows.
However an email to staff sent by Bob Bakish, Chief Executive of Viacom International, and Dave Lynn, Managing Director of the firm’s UK arm, suggested that would now change.
The pair said they were “looking to grow Channel 5’s ratings and revenues through further investment, providing greater resources and opportunities for employees.”
They promised the acquisition would “dramatically increase Viacom’s content spend in the UK,” a development they promised would mean “a stronger content offering for UK viewers”.