PartyGaming announced Monday that is has formed a strategic business partnership with British television channel, Five, formerly known as Channel Five. First launched in 1997, the station is one of the major television networks in the United Kingdom.
The details of the partnership were included in Monday’s press release. Five, which is looking to expand its brand into digital and new media, has brought on PartyGaming to help develop and launch Five-branded online gaming and bingo sometime later this year.
While it may initially sound strange that a television station is getting into the world of internet gambling, it actually fits in with the rest of the company’s digital expansion strategy. The station already has a popular video-on-demand program and a number of shows themed around computers and technology, such as “The Gadget Show” and “Fifth Gear.” Portions of both of those programs are available on FiveFWD, an online website in which viewers can watch videos from the popular Five shows as well as buy the products featured within each episode.
Dawn Airey, the Chair and Chief Executive of Five, explained the motivation behind the deal, noting, “Five is looking aggressively at how to expand its presence in digital media, both in terms of its core broadcast content as well as allied offerings that reflect the channel’s unique sense of dynamism and fun. We look forward to a long and prosperous partnership with PartyGaming, whose job it will be to create for Five’s audience the very best gaming experience.”
The “dynamism and fun” Airey alluded to may come, at least in part, from several poker-themed shows in addition to its more technically-oriented offerings. Five also has a history with gaming, having broadcast popular PartyPoker sponsored events like the Women’s World Open and the Sports Star Challenge. Perhaps as a result of the success of these programs, Five turned to PartyGaming to help launch their new online gambling project.
Within the press release, PartyGaming CEO Jim Ryan expressed his excitement at adding Five to the company’s business to business profile. As Ryan referenced in their annual report release in April, the largest listed online gambling company is focusing on strategic business partnerships and business to business deals in order to grow their brand in an increasingly competitive market.
An exact launch date for the new Five gaming project was not announced, however both companies say it should be up and running before the end of the year. Five viewers and poker fans will not only have the new site to look forward to either. Taping has recently wrapped on the latest installments of the Women’s World Open and Sports Star Challenge as well. Both of those programs should be scheduled to broadcast before year’s end.

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