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Telefonica seals digital TV alliance

MADRID – Spain now has a second digital TV alliance that will go head-to-head with the platform to be launched in January by Sogecable, a joint venture of Canal Plus France and Spanish major Prisa.

On Thursday, Spain’s nationwide telco Telefonica closed negotiations to launch a digital TV platform for Spain with most of the country’s pubcasters, headed by Radio Television Espanola (RTVE); as well as Mexico’s Televisa Group, the largest entertainment consortium in the Spanish-speaking world; and the highest-rated private broadcaster in Spain, Antena 3 TV.

The deal sees Telefonica taking a 35% share, RTVE, Antena 3 TV and Televisa 17% apiece, and 13% being shared among four Spanish regional pubcasters. A leading Spanish daily newspaper, El Mundo, looks set to pick up the remaining 1% in the consortium, which will kick off its digital direct-to-home satellite transmissions with a 14-channel bouquet during trial tests over the next few weeks.

Telefonica has taken responsibility for the orchestration of D-boxes and customer services. The partners foresee a future public share issue of up to 30% of their digital joint venture.

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