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Publisher Planeta bows Spanish TV and film arm

Cata appointed director; Mateu to head prod'n

MADRID — Planeta, the biggest publishing company in the Spanish-speaking world, has launched a film and TV division to power its drive into broadcasting, film production, rights brokering and niche TV channel packaging.

Planeta 2010 will create openings for catalog and titles sales to Spain. It marks a move by Planeta prexy Jose Manuel Lara to restructure the firm as a heavyweight in film and TV, a sector with larger growth opportunities than traditional publishing.

The banner’s name underscores its ambition to become a leading owner and licenser of content in Spain and Latin America within 10 years.

Bookkeeping

The Planeta Group’s aggregate revenues for 1998 were $800 million, which came largely from vast book, video and multimedia interests. Planeta-DeAgostini, a joint venture with Italy’s DeAgostini, has book and video distribution outlets in 30 countries.

Aurora Cata, former director of pubcaster RTVE’s TV center in Catalonia, has been appointed director of Planeta 2010. Her RTVE deputy, Ramon Mateu, becomes director of production.

And, in a move which was making waves on the opening day of the Midia ’99 Co-Production Projects Market in Madrid, Planeta 2010 has hired Adolfo Blanco, the well-known head of sales and acquisitions at Barcelona distrib Filmax, as director of sales and acquisitions.

Sharing success

Planeta’s success may well turn on the leverage it can attain for Spanish TV sales through its strategic shareholdings in production house Lola Films (23%), commercial web Tele 5 (10%), niche channel packager Canales Tematicos (33%) and especially digital terrestrial TV (DTT) operator Onda Digital (15%).

Onda is the only candidate to win a franchise to operate 14 DTT feeds in Spain.

Planeta could act as a channel packager for Onda or one of its major rights brokers. Planeta’s first production slate will feature docu, children’s and film projects, Mateu told Daily Variety.

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