Sales dropped to $144.1 million in 2007

MADRID — Sales to the U.S. of Spanish TV shows and pics are falling, according to export statistics published by Spanish producers body Fapae on Tuesday.

Spanish film and TV sales abroad edged down 3% to Euros 93 million ($144.1 million) in 2007 amid tough times in many international markets.

But the report singles out the U.S., saying, “The most significant change is the decreasing significance of sales to the American continent at large and, in contrast, a greater concentration of sales in Europe and a spectacular rise of sales to Asia.”

Sales of Spanish film and TV product to the U.S. plunged 26% to $21.4 million last year from $28.8 million in 2006.

Fapae put forward “the continual fall of the Dollar against the Euro” and “economic slowdown in the U.S.” as likely explanations for the plunge.

For middling export powers such as Spain, year-on-year comparisons of sales biz can be hazardous.

Sales of even one pic can make a difference. For instance, international sales on “The Orphanage,” a Picturehouse pickup for the U.S. at Berlin last year, will not hit Fapae’s export estimates until 2008.

Even so, the shift in exports away from a large dependence on the U.S. was one highlight of the Fapae’s annual report, presented Tuesday in Madrid.

The report also outlined sol y sombra in Spain’s export biz in general.

The sol: though dipping 5% to $88.6 million, film figures for 2007 still remain the third best in history and way above pre-2002 levels: film exports ran at just $52.4 million in 2001.

“One of the main reasons for this growth has been the creation of specialised groups of export companies, the support provided by [Spanish export board] ICEX for international distribution, and the international success of some film-makers,” the Fapae report said.

Some sombra: as Fapae prexy Pedro Perez pointed out at the presentation, TV market fragmentation is slowing ad sales at major broadcasters abroad, with a knock-on effect on acquisitions.

TV exports dipped 1% to $54.2 million.

“Despite the increasingly positive reaction to Spanish documentary and animation production outside Spain, the progressive fall in prices is affecting the overall sales figures of TV content abroad,” the report reads.

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