Channel 5 has switched the playout of its multichannels from Red Bee Media to Ascent Media Network Services (AMNS).

The five-year deal will see Channel 5’s HD channel, Fiver, Five USA and its time-shifted channels all migrate to AMNS’s Stephen Street playout facility from “late spring or early summer”.

AMNS has played out Channel 5’s main channel since it launched in 1997, but the broadcaster’s other channels were played out by Red Bee.

In March, Channel 5 will rebrand Fiver as 5* (Five Star), and Five USA as 5USA.

Channel 5 will also shift signing and audio description away from Red Bee to Deluxe-owned facility ITFC.

AMNS managing director for EMEA Maurizio Cimelli said its partnership with ITFC meant the company could now offer “a seamless integrated solution for all C5’s playout and facility needs”.

AMNS’s playout arm is being acquired by US firm Encompass Digital Media, with the transaction expected to close on 28 February.

Encompass chief executive Simon Bax welcomed the deal. “It is a very positive start to our new operation in London and we look forward to working closely with C5 to deliver outstanding service to its portfolio of channels,” he said.

Paul Dunthorne, managing director of Portland TV, the broadcasting arm of C5 owner Northern & Shell, led C5’s negotiations with Ascent.

He said: “Following a technical refresh of AMNS’s Stephen Street facility, we are able to bring all of our channels into a single location, which enables us to implement efficiencies.”

Broadcast understands that C5 sought an early exit from its contract with Red Bee, but the latter will continue to provide C5’s disaster recovery.

At the start of last year, Red Bee was appointed by C5 to manage all its video-on-demand services, including content distribution to Five’s VoD service, Demand Five, and the syndication, live streaming, content management and delivery of the broadcaster’s original programmes to YouTube in the UK.

Red Bee said: “Red Bee Media remains under contract to provide a suite of first-rate broadcast services to Channel 5.”