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PRISA LANDS JUAREZ

Ele Juarez, president and CEO of Polygram in Spain, is set to take on one of the most powerful industry jobs in the country when he is named Sept. 11 as director of audiovisual affairs at Prisa, Spain’s largest media conglomerate.

The heads of all film-and TV-related companies controlled by Prisa will report to Juarez, according to sources. They said Prisa’s expanding businesses need someone with industry experience to marshal Prisa’s large, criss-crossing interests and create synergies among them. Juarez is expected to join Prisa officially Oct. 15.

His appointment comes as the Spanish giant gears up for new initiatives within Spain and the rest of Europe.

Pic power plays

Prisa film arm Sogetel, which last year inked a 24-to 30-pic production pact with Andres Vicente Gomez’s Iberoamericana/Lola Films, is about to sign similar deals with two other key indie producers in Spain.

Sogetel film head Fernando Garcillan declined to name the producers in question, but confirmed that the soon-to-be-announced deals would “complement Sogetel’s product.”

Prisa will also soon muscle into film exhibition by building multiplexes.

“(Prisa) is in advanced talks with a major European group” to joint venture in this area, according to Jose Vicuna, president of Prisa’s sales and distribution company, Sogepaq.

Pay TV push

Meanwhile, regulatory authorities permitting, the Prisa-backed pay TV operation Canal Plus Espana will press forward with its cable joint venture with the country’s telco Telefonica.

Before heading Polygram in Spain, Juarez worked for a couple of years in Los Angeles at 20th Century Fox running Fox Video activities outside North America. He also had stints at Warner Bros, and Turner Broadcasting.

As president/CEO of Polygram in Spain since 1993, Juarez established Polygram’s video operations in the territory and helped structure the Polygram/Sogepaq theatrical joint venture, Sogepaq Distribution.

Prisa sources would not confirm or deny Juarez’s appointment. Juarez was unavailable for comment.

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