Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is expanding its operations in Italy by launching a local version of its Spike TV network and taking a stake in kids’ channel Super!.
VIMN has acquired a free-to-air (FTA) digital terrestrial frequency in Italy from Scripps Networks Interactive to launch its local version of Spike TV, which will join similar services available in countries including the UK.
Spike Italy will launch at the end of October, targeting adult viewers with a mix of Viacom’s global TV hits alongside international acquisitions and local productions.
VIMN has also confirmed it has entered into a joint venture with De Agostini Editore for kids’ TV channel Super!, which is available FTA on digital terrestrial TV in Italy. VIMN has acquired a 50% stake in the network.
David Lynn, president and 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 among Italian TV viewers, and we’re ambitious for future share growth in this valuable and important TV market.”
Raffaele Annecchino, president and MD for VIMN Southern and Western Europe, Africa and the Middle East, added: “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 digital terrestrial TV channels in Italy, Paramount Channel and VH1.