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ITV buys into parent-focused MCN

UK broadcaster ITV has acquired a stake in Channel Mum, which is billed as the first YouTube network for mothers.

This comes soon after analysts criticised a perceived lack of investment in the multichannel network space at ITV, which is different to other European broadcast groups such as MTG, RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 that have spent big.

Buying a stake in Channel Mum will go some way so stifling such opinions, and bring digital in line with the rest of the ITV business, which has been soaring on the back of strong ITV Studios performance in recent financial quarters.

The founder of parenting website Netmums, Siobhan Freegard, launched Channel Mum in January as an alternative to internet forums, which have been the major online resource for new mothers to this point.

The network already has ten popular mum vloggers signed up, and new videos are being uploaded daily. A branded content deal has already been struck with nappy manufacturer Pampers, while an initiative with Panasonic to encourage more mothers to sign up as vloggers is underway.

“I am so pleased that ITV has seen the potential of Channel Mum, recognising Millennial mums as an important and growing demographic,” said Freegard. “Our research shows that brands are keen to connect with these women in a meaningful way.”

ITV has acquired a minority stake for an undisclosed amount, a deal that comes after investments in digital video firms Believe Entertainment, Indigenous Media and Zealot Networks. The broadcaster also owns a piece of SVOD platform Cirkus.

“Siobhan Freegard is a hugely successful entrepreneur with a proven track record in digital business,” said ITV’s managing director of online, pay, interactive and technology, Simon Pitts.

“She and her team at Channel Mum have a brilliant understanding of content, advertisers and mothers and how they can work together to produce genuinely appealing, authentic content. We’re delighted to be working together.”