Magazine article Screen International

Viacom Buys Argentina's Telefe Network for $345M

Magazine article Screen International

Viacom Buys Argentina's Telefe Network for $345M

Article excerpt

The deal with Telefe's Spanish owner Telefónica expands Viacom's footprint in Argentina alongside its Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV and Paramount Channel brands, while allowing Telefónica to divest itself of an asset as it focuses on building its telecoms business.

The trend among consumers to move away from networks to cable TV would appear to make the timing of the deal unusual. However Bakish said in an interview with THR on Tuesday he views this as an opportunity to cross-promote Viacom's networks in Argentina, much as Viacom did with Channel 5 in the UK.

The deal also give Viacom the opportunity to invest in more local content and exploit it not just in Argentina but across Latin America and the broader Spanish-speaking world.

There is no doubt Telefe's prominence in Argentina. The free-to-air broadcaster operates eight regional channels and streaming services in the country and pay-TV division Telefe Internacional reaches across Latin America and is active in 17 countries.

Executives said Telefe commands 33% of viewership for the year-to-date, produces around 3,000 hours of content a year and owns a library of approximately 33,000 hours of content.

Programming includes Educando A Nina (pictured), Loco X Vos, Susana Giménez, Pesadilla En La Cocina and Telefe Noticias.

In a statement Bakish said: "Telefe is an outstanding broadcast and production business, and this acquisition will accelerate our growth strategy in Argentina, one of the most advanced and valuable media markets in Latin America. …

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