Companies invest $46 million

Production powerhouse Mediapro is teaming with telcos Telefonica and Alcatel-Lucent, and pubcaster TVC to kickstart new-media outfit i3media with a e34.8 million ($46.4 million) cash injection.

Mediapro, which is co-producing Woody Allen’s untitled Barcelona 2007 production, leads the high-tech initiative, unveiled Friday

i3media will pull together Spain’s dispersed new-media R&D community, allowing large-scale R&D previously impossible in the country, said industry ministry under secretary Joan Trullen.

It will count on 150 researchers, many from outside Spain.

Among its aims: exploring upgrades in digital cinema sports transmissions, and reproducing the ease of Internet navigation on TV sets.

Spain’s ministry of industry is putting up half the funding. i3media is a pilot initiative of Cenit, part of Spain’s ministry of industry’s R&D program, Ingenio 2010.

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