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Crisis hits Spanish production sector

Execs report falling budgets, commissions

MADRID — Spain’s TV production sector is being hit hard by the economic crisis, a report by research org Barlovento Comunicacion has found.

The report, “Analysis of TV Production and Distribution in Spain,” was based on replies from execs repping 65% of Spanish TV and film production, the company said.

Of those polled, 79% say Spanish TV stations are dropping their budgets on productions while 63% claimed that the volume of production commissioned out to companies has also fallen.

Some 86% of execs said that TV production/distribution was in a negative (73%) or very negative (13%) state; 78% said that production/distribution will get worse (67%) or much worse (11%) in the second half of this year.

Of program types, documentary production will fall by 22%, animation by 19%, and fiction and films by 15%. Multi-seg series (down 9%) and gameshows (down 3%) will weather the storm better.

Execs were split on whether more channels will benefit the sector (45%) or not have any influence (43%). Equally, there’s no consensus on whether the ad nix at nationwide pubcaster RTVE, skedded for later this year, will benefit (39%) or harm (31%) the TV sector.

The report confirms individual execs’ own analysis of TV trends in Spain at a time of rampant market fragmentation and, driven by the burst in Spain’s property bubble, a 27% plunge in first quarter TV ad revenues — by far the biggest fall of Western Europe’s Big Five territories, according to London-based research org Screen Digest.

Although Spain’s analog switchoff is skedded for April 2010, and digital terrestrial television claimed a 35% aud share in June, DTT is still too new to goose production levels.

“DTT isn’t yet generating enough original programming to have a substantial market effect,” said Carlos Carballo, CEO of Galicia’s Voz Audiovisual.

“Repeats are growing on skeds. There are more channels, but many of their commissions” have very low budgets, agreed Antonio Saura, prexy of the Madrid-based Zebra Prods., a burgeoning TV production force in Spain.

Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this report.

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