Sky appears to have lost the contracts to sell both Nickelodeon and
the Paramount Channel.
In a move that left agency pundits bemused, the sales contracts look
likely go to Viacom-owned MTV and VH-1, which will take over on 1
Viacom owns Paramount and 50 per cent of Nickelodeon (Sky owns the other
half). It recently asked MTV to pitch for the contract against the
existing Nickelodeon team, which sits within the Sky sales
It is believed MTV presented a higher revenue guarantee bid to its
It is not clear who will head sales when the business moves out of Sky’s
offices as MTV sales director Lesley Rowe-Jones is about to take
The move also throws into question the future of the Nickelodeon sales
team, which is headed by sales director Steve Warwick, an expert in
TV buyers expressed surprise at the move, saying Nickelodeon’s sales
team had done an ’excellent job’ since the channel’s launch in 1993.
If the move cannot be blocked, it is possible Sky would consider buying
back its share in the channel.
Gary Ward, TV director at OMD, one of Nickelodeon’s biggest customers,
said: ’We have developed strong relationships with Nickelodeon sales
since its launch.
’MTV is not familiar with the children’s TV market or with housewives.
The timing couldn’t be worse for a new sales team. Nobody will have time
to see them as we are approaching the busiest season for children’s
Another agency source said: ’MTV can only increase the channel’s revenue
by forcing up prices. We won’t pay a premium for satellite TV without
good reason. Taking the business away from Steve Warwick is taking it
from one of the most skilled operators in the market.’