ViacomCBS’s C5 in UK ditches peak-time per-hour pricing model

Ben Frow

Channel 5 in the UK will no longer apply a fixed, per-hour pricing tariff model to its peak-time programming, as part of an overhaul to its commissioning process.

The ViacomCBS-owned commercial broadcaster said it was “reevaluating” its hourly programme tariffs for peak-time commissions “to release individual productions from the constraints of a per-hour budget model.”

C5 execs will now agree the genre for each programme, then negotiate and agree indicative pricing that the broadcaster said would “address specific production requirements rather than applying a fixed, per-hour pricing tariff model.”

Ben Frow, chief content officer at ViacomCBS Networks UK, said the changes would provide more flexibility on series.

“It is no secret that Channel 5 has always operated on lower tariffs and we want to ensure that fixed hourly budgets don’t put undue pressure on the production process,” he said. “By reevaluating the constraints of per-hour tariffs, we can look at commissioning deliverables more holistically going forward.”

Training investment

The broadcaster has also unveiled an annual “seven-figure sum” that will be used to support a dedicated training fund to improve industry learning and development.

Production companies can submit applications to the fund for their employees and freelancers working on C5 programming, at any stage during a contracted production.

The course topics and training providers can be chosen by the production firm, with an annual training allowance cap of £15k ($20,000) per any one indie.

C5 has also confirmed it has signed up to the Unscripted TV Skills Fund, run by UK training organisation ScreenSkills. It means 0.25% of the budget of factual and entertainment programmes will go towards training, while C5 also requires all cast and crew on its productions to complete ScreenSkills’ free anti-bullying and harassment training prior to production commencing.

Frow added: “The clamours for change in our industry are loud and it’s important that we do our best to respond to them. We are a sector which is wholly dependent on talent and through this training fund we are helping to invest in people’s future careers.”

Production companies wishing to submit an application to C5’s training fund should contact Nan Whittingham, VP of productions.

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