Move aids big auteur pic production

Spain’s Mediaproduccion, producer of Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and Roman Polanski’s “Carnage,” has emerged from voluntary bankruptcy protection.

Mediaproduccion, the content subsidiary of Mediapro, sought protection from creditors in June 2010 after a Madrid court ordered the company to pay Audiovisual Sport, controlled by bitter rival Prisa, ?104 million ($135.6 million) for breach of contract over soccer rights.

A Barcelona court has now approved a deal between Media-pro and most creditors, largely banks. Mediapro will settle all liabilities within 35 months.

Mediaproduccion’s emergence from protection will have consequences for all parts of Mediapro.

The clarification of its financial status facilitates Mediapro’s continued co-production of the work of well-known filmmakers.

Grossing $56.2 million Stateside, Allen’s biggest-ever U.S. haul, “Midnight” is the second of a three-pic co-production deal between Mediapro and Gravier, owned by Allen’s sister, Letty Aronson.

Mediapro also backed Spain’s Versatil, a co-producer on “Carnage,” which grossed $3.4 million in Spain through Dec. 19.

Mediapro’s soccer biz ambitions are less clear. Its flagship pay DTT channel, Gol TV, saw 1.7 million visitors in November, nearly twice those for soccer service Canal Plus Liga, carried by Prisa satcaster Digital Plus.

But giant telco Telefonica “practically subsidizes” Gol TV, rolling it into a multichannel offer on Telefonica IPTV Imagenio, one analyst said.

After Telefonica bought 20% in Digital Plus late 2009, the key questions, he added, are whether Telefonica now supports Gol TV or Prisa’s soccer biz, and if Mediapro has the financial capacity or creditors’ approval to bid for soccer rights in the future.

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