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Viacom acquires minority stake in Israeli company

MUMBAI: Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a division of US media conglomerate Viacom, has acquired a minority stake in Ananey Communications Group, an Israeli pay TV channel provider and content producer.

Vimn and Ananey are long-standing business partners in Israel, where Ananey licenses or represents Viacom’s global brands – including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. – alongside seven of Ananey’s own fully owned and operated channels, and represents Viacom’s programming sales and consumer products business. 

Under Ananey’s representation and operation, Nickelodeon has become Israel’s No. 1 children’s channel, and alongside Nick Jr., reaches 49%[i] of the youth audience, due in large part to Ananey’s original local productions for kids and teens.

Ananey also develops television formats and programmes for both Israel and international TV markets, including ‘Street Food Around The World’, a food and travel show which was sold to international broadcasters, and The Green Project, a comedic sketch show with international success. 

Ananey is a developer and producer of scripted daily dramas for kids and teens. One of Ananey’s flagship productions, the daily teen drama ‘The Greenhouse’, has delivered record ratings for Nickelodeon in Israel and has been acquired by Netflix for a remake in the English language for international audiences (to be available on Netflix during 2017).  In addition, Ananey specialises in producing digital and interactive content and applications, including the SpongeBob Master mobile app that is available to download in Israel and Hungary and is expected to launch in the UK in 2017.

Vimn president, CEO David Lynn said, “This deal will deepen our partnership with Ananey, which has delivered success for both companies over many years. We are delighted to cement our strong position in this valuable pay TV market and pursue new opportunities with a leading content producer in one of the most dynamic production sectors internationally. We have confidence that the Ananey team will continue to excel in the local and international market and we are excited about what the future will bring.”

Ananey Communications Group founder, chairman Udi Miron said, “This partnership with Viacom is testimony to the strength and creativity of Ananey Communications Group. After years of successfully representing Viacom in Israel, we are honoured to take this partnership one step further; we believe together we will achieve even greater success in Israel and internationally. We look forward to working with Viacom to create new horizons for the traditional pay TV market and for the dynamic digital world and leveraging the strong Israeli start up market to advance our shared digital vision. I want to thank Viacom for this vote of confidence in our abilities and the team at Ananey, led by Orly Atlas-Katz, for everything they have achieved and all their hard work.”

Under the terms of the transaction, Vimn has an option to acquire a controlling stake in Ananey in the future. Vimn senior VP, GM Central and Eastern Europe and Israel, Bartosz Witak, has joined the board of Ananey.