Miniseries may threaten film finance

Two-part Spanish miniseries “El Castigo” has achieved the unthinkable in Spain: stealing auds from the hugely popular “CSI: Miami.”

But its triumph is bad news for the local film biz.

A testosterone-packed thriller, Daniel Calpasoro’s “El Castigo” lashed the Monday primetime opposition, taking a 26.5% share for 4.9 million viewers.

The mini, which airs on Antena 3, took a chunk out of “CSI: Miami’s” younger-skewing demo on Telecinco, which scored 18% and 3.6 million.

Building word of mouth, “Castigo” did even better on Tuesday, increasing to 27.8% and 5.3 million pairs of eyeballs. Telecinco’s “Big Brother” trailed in second with 22.7% and 3.4 million.

Antena 3 has averaged 16.5% share this month.

“Castigo” turns on a brutal reformatory for fractious adolescents, high in the Pyrenees.

Using “Lost”-style flashbacks, “Castigo” boasts a good-looking teen cast, some soft-core torture – the inmates are kept in cages, punished by water immersion – plus teen lust. Flashbacks include one high school femme moonlighting as a stripper.

“Castigo’s” real victim may be Spanish film producers.

By law, Spanish broadcasters must plow 5% of revenues into film financing. In the past, most coin has gone to movie production – a whopping e112.8 million ($158.9 million) last year.

But miniseries and TV movies now also qualify for the 5% quotas. And, from next year, TV movies can receive state subsidies.

“Castigo’s” success may encourage broadcasters to divert coin away from movie production and into minis and made-fors.

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