ViacomCBS (formerly Viacom) is an American media company that co-owns Rainbow SpA (the studio that produces Winx Club) alongside Iginio Straffi. Viacom also owns Nickelodeon, the co-developer of the show since Season 5.
Viacom finances most events for the show. In 2010 alone, the company provided the funds for the third and fourth seasons' international relaunches, the production of brand-new seasons, and a new CGI film.
In February 2011, it was announced that Viacom had bought out 30% of Rainbow, a purchase that VideoAge valued at 62 million euros (US$83 million). The rest belongs to Iginio Straffi. It was called "the most significant transaction [in Italian entertainment]" of the year by Cineconomy, and "Straffi's most important agreement" by L'espresso. As a result, Viacom's Nickelodeon networks now broadcast Rainbow's shows worldwide. Nickelodeon's American studios have also collaborated with Rainbow on multiple shows, including Winx Club since 2010 and Club 57 in 2019.
Viacom became involved in financing and producing the Winx Club franchise upon its purchase of 30% of the Rainbow S.p.A. studio.
Pierluigi Gazzolo, the Italian-born president of both Viacom Studios and Nickelodeon International, is also a member of Rainbow's board of directors. He was responsible for arranging the co-production partnerships between Rainbow and Nickelodeon. Explaining his decision to produce the show, Gazzolo said "we really believe in the Winx." During one of his chats with Iginio Straffi, Gazzolo and Straffi had the idea to produce a follow-up show, which eventually became Club 57.
In a December 2020 interview, Iginio Straffi talked about how proud he was to continue working with Viacom: "Viacom was excited about Rainbow’s creative capacity and was interested in producing brands for the licensing world. Ours was a fortunate encounter, and their choice to partner with us was an incredible confirmation of our worth in the industry. Collaborating with them, we have had the opportunity to grow further and reach even more audiences worldwide."
Starting with the fifth season, Iginio Straffi changed the show's target demographic to a younger audience. Some fans have incorrectly blamed Viacom (co-owner of Rainbow since 2011) for this decision, when it was actually Straffi who chose to aim the show at younger children. Reflecting on this, Straffi said in 2019: "Nowadays, it's very difficult to get a 10-year-old to watch cartoons. They all go for the live-action... When your [new] target is 4-to-8, your story cannot have the same level of complexity as the beginning seasons of Winx... The fans of the previous Winx Club say on social media that the new seasons are childish, but they don't know that we had to do that."
- According to VideoAge, Viacom's Italian subsidiary was created in 2011, specifically to purchase its division of Rainbow.
- Viacom's name can be seen printed on many Winx Club toys.
- Click here to visit Viacom's Winx Club page.