DTT drives U.S. buys at Antena 3-La Sexta

Spanish group's success rolls off Hollywood acquisitions

MADRID — Low-cost digital terrestrial TV has become an ace card for Spain’s second-biggest broadcasting conglom, Antena 3-La Sexta, driving share, priming U.S. hits and bulwarking its bottom line.

Since the merger of Antena 3 and La Sexta in March, the group’s five free-to-air DTT channels have grabbed a collective 8.5% share of the audience. One of these, femme-skewed Nova, was the fastest-growing channel in Spain, growing share from 1.3% in January to 2% in December.

The rise of free-to-air DTT channels in Spain helps explain the shift from high-cost local production to far lower-cost U.S. program acquisition in the territory.

As Spain’s TV ad market nearly halved from 2007’s Euros3.5 billion ($4.5 billion) to around $2.4 billion last year, Antena 3 has been forced to put on the back-burner production of in-house fiction hits for young-adult DTT channel Neox, such as relationship sitcom “Impares” and comedy sketch show “Coconut Museum.”

Neox, which airs U.S. skeins “Modern Family,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men,” is Spain’s third biggest channel in 13-24 demos, punching 10% 13-24 share, ahead of pubcaster TVE 1, Cuatro and La Sexta, said Bernd Reichart, outgoing Antena 3 managing director, digital channels.

“The crisis has increased grid-time for bought-in product,” added Reichart, who will serve as CEO of German channel Vox from Feb. 1. “Eight or nine years ago, we only partially tracked Hollywood. With a family of seven different channels, no major studio product can be discounted as unsuitable.”

Neox’s youth profile was “absolutely fitting” for U.S. premium product, Reichart added. “‘Two and a Half Men’ has jumped from channel to channel. Now it has a second chance to be a hit.”

“In the past, if big Spanish channels had tried to air ‘Modern Family’ in primetime, it would never have hit 15% share, and would have flopped,” one analyst said.

“Now, if ‘Modern Family’ hits 2%, it’s a success and TV networks pay for just a 2% share.”

An eight-channel spread that includes La Sexta 3 (1.6% share), driven by Warner Bros. movies, also appeals to advertisers, offering a wide range and precise demo-targeting channels, the analyst added.

DTT channel growth — up from 2.6% of free-to-air audiences in 2007 to 28.5% last year — is natural.

“With Spain’s digital switch-over in April 2010, Spaniards were forced to watch either DTT or pay TV. With the crisis, more people are watching DTT,” the analyst said.

“Mediaset Espana and Antena 3 have also added channels, increasing choice, and consumption,” he added.

Last year, average Spanish TV viewing reached a historic record of 246 minutes a day.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety

Loading