Channels

Discovery buys Italian broadcaster Switchover

Discovery has continued on its recent acquisition spree, buying Italian kids and general entertainment broadcaster Switchover Media.

Discovery will acquire all of the Italian firm, which operates four free-to-air and pay TV channels in Italy.

The US company said that, combined with its existing assets in the Italian market, the Switchover deal will make it the third largest broadcaster in the country by audience share

Switchover runs free-to-air channels Giallo, a female-skewed investigation-themed service and Focus, a male-targeted factual entertainment channel. It also operates two free-to-air childrens channels, K2 and Frisbee, as well as GXT, a male-targeted pay TV channel.

“Italy is a leading market for Discovery and key to our growth here over the last two years has been the development of a successful free-to-air TV business strategy as this platform has grown,” said Dee Forbes, president and managing director of Discovery Networks Western Europe.

Forbes, previously at Turner, which runs several kids channels said: “The acquisition of Switchover Media adds further breadth and scale to that free-to-air strategy, as well as diversifying our portfolio to include scripted crime and children’s programming that have proven popular with audiences and advertisers.”

With the acquisition of Switchover, Discovery now manages six free-to-air brands and six pay TV brands in Italy. The combined business will be overseen by Marinella Soldi, managing director Discovery Italy and general manager Southern Europe, who is based in Milan.

Francesco Nespega, founder and managing partner of Switchover Media, will serve as a consultant and advisor to Discovery.