Viacom CEO casts doubt on Big Brother future

5 comments - Posted on October 8 2014 at 02:51pm

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The president of Viacom has cast doubt on the future of Big Brother UK, suggesting that Channel 5 shouldn’t take it “too far”.

Last month the American media giant – known for brands including MTV and Nickeodeon – completed its £450million acquisition of C5 from publishing tycoon Richard Desmond.

Back in May, it was suggested that Viacom was eager to secure Big Brother’s future – but today, speaking publicly for the first time since the deal went through, company CEO Philippe Dauman made it clear that he doesn’t believe C5 is reliant on Big Brother.

At a Broacasting Press Guild conference this morning (via The Guardian), he said: “Maybe we continue with Big Brother, maybe if for some reason that didn’t work out we have the ability to put out other great programming.

“What is best direction for Channel 5? You can go too far with one genre even when it’s successful. That is one thing we’ve learned. No show is hugely popular forever so you have to keep your fingers in different pots.”

However, Dauman did acknowledge that Big Brother had been a “big performer” for the broadcaster, adding: “We will leave it to the programming team to see where we go.”

Elsewhere, Dauman revealed that C5 is to begin targeting younger viewers more aggressively – and that he wants it to overtake rival network Channel 4 in the ratings.

Big Brother is arguably C5’s biggest ratings puller – particularly the Celebrity version, with the last winter edition in January acheiving a consolidated series average of 3.04million viewers, making it the broadcaster’s most watched to date.

The civilian version has had mixed fortunes in recent years – with this summer’s edition becoming the lowest rating ever – but it is one of few C5 shows that skew younger.

Earlier this week it was revealed that C5 made a profit of £32.6million in 2013 – up from a loss of £16.6million in 2012.

For now Big Brother looks set to continue, with the fifteenth Celebrity series expected in January – but bosses have yet to officially announce terms of a rights renewal. Reports suggest that Viacom will cross-promote the show with more coverage on MTV News.

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5 comments on this article

  1. Lewis James Griffiths says:
    Thu 09 Oct Reply !

    I’m hoping this is purely Viacom playing hardball with Endemol, and it’s just Viacom trying to get a better deal. Also, I hope this means that Viacom recognises that three series a year is insanity!

  2. Corey Seville says:
    Thu 09 Oct Reply !

    How does that work?? He has said he wants to overtake channel 4 in terms of the ratings but then cast doubt over the programme that regularly helps channel 5 get ahead of channel 4 in the ratings

  3. Sam2 says:
    Thu 09 Oct Reply !

    “… and that he wants it to overtake rival network Channel 4 in the ratings”

    Without Big Brother? Sure, and when that happens I think I’ll start offering aerial tours of Elstree on my flying pig.

  4. Brekkie says:
    Thu 09 Oct Reply !

    Ultimately it’s cost and profit rather than ratings and demo which Viacom will be interested in. Other shows may not rate as well and may not get as desirable an audience, but if they’re coming in considerably cheaper then there is a good chance they are more profitable.

    Richard Desmond made C5 all about Big Brother – Viacom are just acknowledging it should be about more than that.

    My gut instinct is they’ll keep it for next year on a one year deal and go from there.

  5. Az says:
    Mon 27 Oct Reply !

    Lets not forget it’s contract negotiation time! Viacom may be feigning their disinterest in the hopes of achieving a better deal.

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