UK broadcaster Channel 5 will increase its news and original programming output, according to new licensing rules set out by Ofcom that follow Viacom’s buyout of the station.
According to the UK broadcast regulator’s Channel 5 ‘change of control’ review, which was published today, the network must increase its minimum quota of news programmes in peak hours by 20% from 100 hours to 120 hours annually.
Channel 5’s overall news quota has risen from 260 hours to 280 hours per year.
In addition, the terrestrial network’s quota for original UK production in peak hours has increased from 40% to 45%.
Viacom said this increase recognises the fact that more than half of the channel’s peak time schedule is now originated and that Viacom has pledged to increase investment in UK original production.
The minimum quota for current affairs programmes and shows produced outside the M25 (the wider London region) remain the same – 130 hours per year and 10% by spend and volume respectively.
“Ofcom is pleased that Viacom has shown a strong commitment to invest in original UK productions and news on Channel 5. These are important features of public service broadcasting that we know viewers value highly,” said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s group director of consumer and content.
With the increase of its news quota, Channel 5 owner Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) today said it has extended its 5 News contract with ITN by a further two years. This will now run until 2017.
“We’re very pleased to have this early opportunity to demonstrate Channel 5’s unambiguous commitment to news programming under Viacom’s ownership,” said VIMN UK president, David Lynn.
“The 5 News team at ITN has done a widely admired job in differentiating its bulletins to engage audiences that aren’t being reached by other broadcasters and they should be very proud of the recognition their efforts have received.”
VIMN closed its £450 million acquisition of Channel 5 from Northern & Shell Media Group in September, after receiving unconditional clearance from the European Commission. The deal was first announced on May 1.