Miami-based company Taurus Programming Services last week announced plans for launching a six-channel satellite service for the Spanish-speaking market in Europe.
The announcement came from Taurus topper Hector Soucy, speaking at a conference organized by Madrid-based trade publication Cable & Satellite, which included international top experts and exex in the industry.
The main partners in the Taurus Service — the name of the European satellite venture — are Raphael Simon Urbina of HBOle, Venezuelan company Omnivision, and Soucy of Taurus.
The company is negotiating with the Disney Channel, Turner Broadcasting, Cine Canal, and Aaron Spelling’s Multivision as possible partners in the channels, but no deals are closed as yet.
Taurus’ promotional channel for test beaming will go up this summer on Intelsat K out of Miami, with plans to have six channels going in October. Taurus is negotiating for transponder service on Spanish satellite Hispasat 1B, which is due to be launched by the end of the year.
The first impact that Taurus Service would have on the Spanish market would be to break up the present pay-television monopoly held by PRISA-backed (terrestrial) pay box Canal Plus and its two new sister satellite channels, Cinemania and Documania.
However, speaking at the Cable and Satellite conference, Pio Cabanillas, the director of Cinemania and Documania, expressed his doubts over whether there are enough distribution rights for films and television programs available in Spain to make foreign ventures there profitable.
The Taurus Service plans as announced in Madrid include a “women’s” channel (such as recently launched Gems), as well as a children’s, sports, news, and first-run movie channel.
Apart from the issue of programming rights, there is some question as to how the Taurus Service compressed digital system would work here. It would be the first digital system introduced in Spain, and there is no infrastructure laid for using digital technology, nor any digital decoders on the market. Further, the company is gearing its start-up toward satellite to cable links, and cable is still illegal in Spain.
So, although the Taurus plans are ambitious, and Spanish industryites are not discounting the feasible competition, there are still glitces to work out.