Five staff to learn their fate

Northern & Shell will make an announcement to staff regarding the future structure of Channel Five on Wednesday morning at 10am, including details of the commercial operation at the broadcaster.

Richard Desmond: owner of N&S and Five
Richard Desmond: owner of N&S and Five

The announcement will mark the first concrete proposals for the broadcaster since N&S owner Richard Desmond bought the channel from RTL Group for £103.5m last month.

While Five is expected to retain its own independent sales team it is understood that commercial staff have already started to speak to media agencies about advertising opportunities spanning Five and Desmond’s print titles, including celebrity magazine OK and the Daily Star newspaper.

After a period of intense speculation, ownership of Five changed hands on 23 July as N&S owner Richard Desmond agreed to shoulder any regulatory responsibilities.

Immediately after the completion of the deal Desmond promised to deliver "investment, drive and leadership" to the broadcaster and announced plans for an estimated £20m campaign through his Northern & Shell publications to promote Five.

Two weeks ago (26 July) Five's chief executive Dawn Airey told senior management that the Northern & Shell team would spend several weeks getting to know the business before making any decisions about its future direction.

Since his purchase of Five, Desmond has been bullish about operating one of Britain's prized terrestrial channels.

Desmond, speaking to Campaign last week, said: "We have the number-one magazine in the world and have entertainment connections across the globe.

"We have newspapers that totally understand the TV and entertainment market and we have a proven record of successfully running media companies. So, I think that shows we have plenty of strengths to help Five succeed in the future."

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