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Viacom's Italian Job

ROME - Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) has today announced its expansion in Italian TV with the acquisition of a free-to-air digital terrestrial frequency.

 

Channel LCN 49 was acquired from Scripps Networks Interactive in order to launch a local version of its Spike TV network. VIMN has also confirmed it has entered into a joint venture with De Agostini Editore for the kids’ TV channel, Super!which is also available free-to-air on digital terrestrial TV in Italy. VIMN now has a 50% stake in the channel.

“Our pay TV partnerships remain the priority for Viacom, but free-to-air distribution is helping us grow ratings and revenues in TV markets where free-to-air networks are predominant,” said David Lynn, CEO of VIMN. “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.”

Raffaele Annecchino, head of VIMN Southern & Western Europe, Africa and the Middle East, added: “I’m pleased to confirm this latest step in our ongoing strategy to scale-up our business in Italy, which has the highest number of free-to-air channels of any European TV market and is the third biggest in terms of advertising revenues. These new free-to-air channels, combined with our strong distribution relationship with Sky, give us a great balance between free-to-air and pay TV in this market and allow us to reach all demographics with distinct and competitive offers.” 

Launching at the end of October, Spike Italy will target adult viewers with a mix of Viacom’s global TV hits alongside international acquisitions and local productions.

Viacom already owns and operates two free-to-air digital terrestrial TV channels in Italy – Paramount Channel and VH1. Since launching Paramount Channel in February 2016, Viacom has grown its average monthly reach in Italy by more than 19 million and is now approaching close to 30 million viewers each month.

The company has also expanded its local advertising sales operation, VIMN Pubblicita' and Brand Solutions, signing deals to represent TV channels owned by Scripps Networks Interactive, De Agostini Editore and Sony, as well as its own portfolio of 11 channels including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., which are all distributed on Italy’s leading pay platform, Sky.

 

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