C5 unveiled its first annual financial results since the decision to cancel the long-running Endemol Shine format and despite a slight dip in turnover, it revealed that spent 2% more on original programming than in the previous year.
Turnover for the fiscal year of 2018, which ran to the end of September, was down from £379.7M (US$473.3M) to £376.3M (US$469.1M) with operating profit down from £45M to £39.9M. However, the company said that the latter’s decrease was down to a “decision by management to increase spend on UK original programming by 2% despite a decrease in turnover”. Its total content spend last year was £232M, which includes all programming spend including acquisitions.
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It is now turning its attention to the scripted genre and recently handed its kids strand Milkshake a major boost.
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Last August, Deadline revealed that C5, led by director of programmes Ben Frow, had ordered its first original drama in four years with the commission of four-part psychological thriller Cold Call, fronted by Happy Valley’s Sally Lindsay and produced by Chalkboard TV. It also recently revealed it was rebooting All Creatures Great and Small with Howards End producer Playground and PBS.
“During the financial year, Channel 5 added homegrown drama to its slate of original commissions and has signalled plans to invest in an even greater breadth of original programming with budget freed up by the cancellation of long-running reality series Big Brother,” it noted.
Last week, it also revealed it had ordered a raft of new content for its pre-school programming block Milkshake!, with re-commissions for Floogals, Little Princess, Peppa Pig and 25-part original Monkey’s Amazing Adventures.
The latter is produced in-house, which ties in with the revelation that Viacom International Studios UK is eyeing growth into new genres.
The division, which was formerly known as Elephant House Studios, produced more than 100 hours of content for Channel 5 last year, including BAFTA-winning Cruising with Jane Mcdonald. It noted in the report that VIS UK was now “eyeing future growth moves into scripted and children’s content”.
Channel 5 also saw a shift in demographics; it revealed that ABC1 viewers had hit 41%, the highest in the channel’s history. This was down to shows such as Michael Palin in North Korea, which became the network’s highest rated show since 2016 with 3.3M viewers, and Secrets of the National Trust.
The company revealed that last year, the portfolio of channels, which also includes 5Star, debuted over 100 new series and specials with 40 returning series, totalling more than 1,900 hours of original content.
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