Viacom is ramping up international production with new outposts in Manchester, England, and Madrid, Spain.
The company has been investing in production outside its home turf in the U.S. through the Viacom International Studios unit, which opened a new Latin America-focused studio in Miami last year with Federico Cuervo at the helm. It has now opened a new production office in Manchester, in northern England, as it seeks out British commissions beyond those for its own free-TV network, Channel 5, and its suite of pay-TV channels, which include MTV and Nickelodeon.
The new U.K. office has already launched production on a factual series for ITV. No further details were disclosed about the series, which will be Viacom’s first original U.K. show for a channel outside its own circle.
A management shuffle on the production side sees Jill Offman take charge of Viacom’s U.K. Studio and the existing London-based production entity, which is being re-branded from Elephant House to Viacom International Studios U.K. General manager Joe McLusky and creative director Ed Taylor report to Offman.
Laura Abril has been handed responsibility for expanding production in Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which she will oversee out of the new Madrid office.
Abril and the mainland Europe production team are tasked with securing commissions from pay-TV operators, broadcasters, and SVOD and social media platforms across the EMEA region. The Viacom International Studios teams in Argentina and Spain have already joined forces on “To Catch a Thief,” a Spanish-language series remake of the classic Hitchcock film.
“Broadcasters and streamers are in a global arms race for the best content, which represents a significant growth opportunity for Viacom with our international studio capacity and in-built creative expertise, exemplified by Jill, Laura and Federico,” said David Lynn, CEO of Viacom International Media Networks. “As our competitors become more vertically integrated, Viacom is free to forge much deeper partnerships with all kinds of distributors internationally and for all types of content.”