Telefonica in rights biz

MADRID — In its seemingly implacable advance toward becoming a fully diversified media group, Spanish telco Telefonica will shortly create a brokering house to acquire free and pay TV rights to Spanish films.

According to Pedro Perez, president of Spanish digital TV platform Via Digital, Telefonica would head up the rights broker, selling free-to-air rights to private web Antena 3 TV and pay rights to Via Digital, both of which the telco co-owns.

Perez unveiled Telefonica’s plans Friday in Madrid while signing an agreement with Spain’s powerful film and TV producers body Fapae, which commits Via to directly invest $15.7 million over 1998 in local film production, including features, TV movies and docus.

Signaling the re-entry of Antena 3 TV into Spanish film financing, the Telefonica rights broker would prove yet another powerful boost to local film production, which is currently on a financial roll, powered by film and TV conglom Sogecable and pubcaster RTVE, whose financial commitments to local film production, when added to Via’s, amount already to some $50 million for 1998.

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