At the same time, 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 FTA on DTT in Italy. The joint venture has been formed by VIMN acquiring a 50% stake in the channel.
Commenting on these developments, David Lynn, president, CEO of VIMN, said: “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. 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, president, MD for VIMN Southern & Western Europe, Africa and the Middle East, added: “I’m pleased to confirm this latest step in our on-going 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.”
Viacom already owns and operates two FTA DTT channels in Italy, namely Paramount Channel and VH1, while Spike Italy will launch at the end of October.
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.