PI bows for rights

Arbol, Boca, Cartel and Correo team up

MADRID — Four Spanish production houses Wednesday formed the largest film and TV rights brokerage company in the Spanish-speaking world.

Produccion Independiente (PI) teams the Arbol Group, the Boca Group, Cartel and Enrique Cerezo as well as, indirectly, publishing and media giant the Correo Group, which has 17% and 30% stakes, respectively, in Arbol and Boca.

Largely playing off the huge catalog of Spanish pic classics owned by film producer and distributor Enrique Cerezo, PI will boast 5,000 feature films and more than 4,000 hours of TV programming.

Some telenovela powerhouse producers in Latin America, such as Mexico’s Televisa, have more TV programming hours stored in their libraries. But they lack PI’s mix of film and TV.

PI looks set to focus initially on international sales for its catalog, with a special emphasis on Latin America.

As important, it will also produce niche TV channels for Spain.

It is in a powerful position to broker large programming deals to pay TV operators in Spain. Cartel and Arbol already figure as lead shareholders in Spain’s upcoming free-to-air digital terrestrial television, Net TV, which is skedded to launch in early 2002.

(Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this report.)

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