C4/Five merger back on?

The owner of Channel Five, RTL, is reported to have made a renewed approach to Channel 4 about a possible commercial tie-up between the two UK broadcasters.

RTL chief executive Gerhard Zeiler, who recently admitted that Five’s value lay as an asset in the expected consolidation of the UK TV market, is said to have had a meeting earlier this month with Channel 4’s chairman and its incoming chief executive, David Abraham, to discuss potential areas of commercial partnership.

Obstacles to a full merger would include Five’s disadvantageous deals for US shows such as the CSI franchise where it has made major revenue guarantees. RTL made a E22 million writedown last year relating to “revised revenue expectations for acquired US series”.

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