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Telecinco, A3 to cut film investment

Change in Spanish quota rules hits movie biz

MADRID — Spain’s two biggest commercial nets — Telecinco and Antena 3 — look set to invest substantially less in local movies following the Spanish parliament’s Thursday approval of new TV regs.

Since 1999, by law Spanish broadcasters invest 5% of annual revenues in European — mostly Spanish — movies.

Framed in a new General Audiovisual Law, these TV quotas were dropped Thursday to 3% for Telecinco and Antena 3.

Both nets saw ad sales plunge dramatically last year. Telecinco revenues plunged 33% to Eurs656.3 million ($892.6 million).

Combined, the dropped quotas and dropping revs will slash Spanish film commitments at both nets.

In 2008, Telecinco Cinema invested $69.3 million in Spanish films. 2010 financing will be “substantially” below that, Telecinco Cinema CEO Ghislain Barrois said Friday.

Telecinco Cinema produced “The Orphanage,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Agora” and Goya-winner “Cell 211”: Its diminished role in Spanish film financing will be noted.

Other broadcasters in Spain do look set, however, to take up some of the local film financing slack, thanks to a major modification in TV quotas.

Though Spanish pic producers were still mulling the consequences of the new legislation Friday, a public holiday, Spain’s General Audiovisual Law extends its 3% quota to all Spanish TV channels. These include networks such as La Sexta, which were not obliged to date to invest in local films.

If Telecinco’s merger with fellow net Cuatro goes through this summer, Telecinco Ciinema will be able to take over Cuatro’s Spanish film financing obligations, adding new powder to its local pic investment warchest.

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