Channel 5: Cash boost and new management team

Northern & Shell (N&S) has pledged to invest £1.5 billion in new acquisition Channel 5 and is implementing a management shake out.

Channel Five

Chief executive Dawn Airey is to leave to take a senior role at Channel 5’s former owner, RTL. Six board directors are also to depart, including managing director Mark White and director of corporate affairs Sue Robertson. White was promoted from sales director in 2008

Channel 5 director of digital channels and acquisitions Jeff Ford will take on additional responsibility as programme director Five Channels. Director of sales Kelly Williams will continue to lead the channel’s commercial team.
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N&S, owned by Richard Desmond, says it plans to pump £300m a year into the broadcaster for the next five years and that the integration of Channel 5 will lead to cost efficiencies.

As a result of the integration, jobs cuts of between 60 and 80 staff are expected and personnel are now in consultation. There is no statement about the future of Channel 5’s marketing department.

Channel 5 is expected to further invest in digital initiatives and has already said that it is rejoining the backers of video-on-demand initiative Project Canvas.

It has also just signed a deal to be the first broadcaster to show its programming on Facebook. Its TV-on-demand player, Demand Five, will be embedded in Facebook, delivering shows such as Neighbours and CSI Miami.

Desmond’s newspaper and magazine interests, which include the Daily Express and Daily Star, are expected to promote Channel 5 programming and be a source of content.

Airey left ITV to join Five in 2008.

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