Retevision, Carlton discuss TV alliance

Pact would open Brit library

MADRID — Spanish communications company Retevision is in talks to create a digital terrestial television (DTT) alliance with Britain’s Carlton Communications.

Retevision, which operates Spain’s terrestial TV grid, is the leading candidate to snare 14 DTT channels, to be adjudicated by the Spanish government June 30, and become Spain’s leading DTT operator.

The channels will be predominantly pay TV feeds with four hours of programming broadcast free-to-air.

An article in Spanish newspaper El Mundo claims that Retevision has approached Carlton proposing that the U.K. TV group become a minority shareholder in a DTT consortium in which Retevision would exercise a 51% controlling stake.

Seeking better credentials

With the application period to operate Spanish DTT franchises due to end March 31, Retevision is obviously keen to boost its credentials.

While Retevision has powerful shareholders — utility companies Endesa and the Union Fenosa and Italian telco Telecom Italia — it lacks product. Most Spanish pay TV rights, especially to soccer games and movies, are already tied up by digital satcasters CanalSatelite Digital (CSD) and Via Digital.

A strategic alliance with Carlton would allow Retevision to tap Carlton’s extensive library. Carlton and the Granada Media Group already operate the U.K.’s DTT joint venture, ONDigital, which has some 70,000 subscribers.

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