Broadcasters acquires skeins in buyers' market

MADRID — Rolling off media concentration in Spain’s TV market, Mediaset Espana, Spain’s biggest commercial broadcast network, has acquired local free-to-air rights to 10 U.S. series.

Buys include two fall newbies: CBS’ Sherlock Holmes update “Elementary,” starring Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson, and the ABC-aired and Sony-sold conspiracy drama “Last Resort.”

Mediaset has acquired five more shows from Disney: conspiracy drama “Zero Hour”; femme crime boss skein “Red Widow,” with Radha Mitchell; comedies “Baby Daddy” and “The Neighbors” and Lifetime order, “Devious Maids.”

Rounding out the deals are Fox’s action series “Graceland,” CW’s crime-fighting fantasy remake “Beauty and the Beast,” bought from CBS, and Lifetime’s “The Client List,” sold overseas by Sony.

Mediaset Espana’s Telecinco, the most-watched channel in Spain with a 13.8% September share, focuses on in-house productions.

So, many shows look likely to play primetime on Cuatro, a destination channel for U.S. drama, and series-themed Factoria de Ficcion, which now commands a 3.4% market share, said Mediaset Espana’s acquisitions head Ghislain Barrois.

Buys roll off volume deals with CBS, Disney, Fox and Sony, he added.

No figure was given for the deals — but the costs of future deals are likely to fall due to the fact that Mediaset Espana’s purchase of Cuatro and Antena 3′s merger with La Sexta have reduced the commercial TV landscape to a near duopoly.

One analyst said, “Many people underestimate the negotiation power that Spain’s two big broadcast groups now have.”

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