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TNT/Cartoon makes push for Spain

Representatives of Ted Turner’s TNT/Cartoon Network are parleying with Spanish cable operators in an attempt to further penetration of the two channels in Spain. That’s despite the fact that a Spanish cable TV law continues to languish in Parliament.

In a presentation in Madrid June 21 to some 100 would-be and existing cable operators in Spain, TNT/Cartoon Network vice president Andy Bird emphasized that his company was “very interested in the Spanish market.”

Telco talks

According to sources, Bird has held talks with Spain’s Telefonica about the state telco – potentially the most powerful operator and carrier in Spain once cable legislation is passed – carrying TNT/Cartoon Network channels. Talks reportedly have deadlocked over Telefonica’s demand to have an exclusive over the two channels.

Given the absence of enabling cable legislation, Bird also is talking to Spain’s existing “community-video” low-grade cable systems to explore the possibilities of their carrying scrambled, Spanish-lingo versions of the TNT/Cartoon Network channels using Wegener decoders.

While the decoders could cost some $270, subscription rates per household could be as low as pta350 ($3), a figure below current subscription charges of $25 for Spain’s premier pay TV channel, Canal Plus Espana.

The principal problem faced by TNT/Cartoon Network is enrolling community video systems – normally low-income, urban neighborhoods where low-grade cable links do not cross public domain – is that some sort of majority decision must be made by potential subscribers within a community as to whether to take a channel.

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