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Disney closes landmark Spain deal

Antena 3 grabs exclusive first-run pics

MADRID — Disney has redrawn its map of Spain, inking an exclusive, free-to-air first-run movie deal with Antena 3, one of Spain’s biggest commercial TV networks.

Announced Monday at Cannes’ Mipcom mart, the pact ranges across new, recent and upcoming features. Kicking in early 2011, the deal’s toon tentpoles include “Toy Story 3,” “Bolt,” “Up” and “The Princess and the Frog.” Among live action titles are “Tron: Legacy,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Hannah Montana: The Movie.”

Deal is likely to run between three and five years, reflecting industry practice. With the Antena 3 movie output deal, Disney has effectively restructured its alignments in Spain. On the eve of Mipcom, the Mouse House announced  a parallel multiyear pact with network rival Telecinco for upcoming series from ABC Studios and ABC Family, plus an undisclosed number of Disney catalog pics. Disney previously had a split deal on movies with Antena 3 and pubcaster TVE and with Cuatro for series and library movies. But those deals are coming up to expiry, Simon Amselem, country manager, the Walt Disney Company Spain and Portugal, said at Mipcom. The April analog switch-off in Spain, market fragmentation and new DTT channels have revolutionized the Spanish TV landscape. Big local players such as Antena 3 need to lock in weighty content to drive traffic to their core channels.

“Antena 3 and Telecinco are the two strongest players in Spain: We have split our output between the two, according to their programming strategies,” Amselem added.

Disney’s big movies look set for primetime event programming on core channel Antena 3. The Spanish broadcaster has sometimes scored heavily with such skedding. Broadcast by Antena 3, the Disney-licensed “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” scored a bullish 21.6% share and 3.4 million viewers in Saturday primetime.

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