Tefonica's Via gets sole TV rights to art pix

MADRID — Alta Films, Spain’s biggest art film distributor, has signed an output deal with satcaster Via Digital, signaling yet another move by product-aggressive Telefonica Media.

Via Digital is 49% owned by Telefonica Media.

The accord gives the digital platform exclusive pay TV and pay-per-view rights to Alta Films’ current distribution slate as well as films whose distribution rights Alta is negotiating for Spain.

The move comes as the vertically integrated Alta Films is targeting further construction of arthouses in Spain and is ramping up its international co-production slate.

Excluding a soon-to-lapse programming accord for Kinepolis, Alta Films already owns or operates 140 screens in Spain in both multiplexes and arthouses. Fifty-six of these screens are in arthouses.

Spanish arthouses

“We can’t compete with majors such as Warner Bros. building multis or megaplexes. But arthouse construction is profitable in Spain,” Alta Films’ prexy Enrique Gonzalez Macho told Daily Variety.

One of Spain’s six biggest exhibitors, with a valuable distrib catalog and an increasingly active producer, Alta has been approached to form part of a mooted group alliance of companies headed by film and TV producers Radiotronica-Cartel-Telson and Globo Media. Macho said possible alliance talks will resume in September.

Macho rebuffed rumors, however, that Telefonica Media had attempted to buy up Alta. “There has been no approach,” he said.

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