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Fox Pay TV, Sogecable pact

Spanish media giant has deals with all majors, save MGM

MADRID — Ending months of speculation, 20th Century Fox Worldwide Pay Television has signed a wide-ranging pay TV and pay-per-view licensing deal with Spanish media holding Sogecable, owner of pay TV Canal Plus Spain and digital operator CanalSatellite Digital.

The agreement means that Sogecable, a joint venture of giant French pay service Canal Plus and Spanish media empire Prisa, has now signed digital deals with every U.S. studio save for MGM, which has yet to commit to a digital licensing arrangement for Spain.

According to sources, the agreement gives Sogecable exclusive first- and second-window pay TV rights to Fox’s movies for its premium channel Canal Plus Spain and its rerun service, Cinemania.

Sogecable will also have a PPV exclusivity on some top Fox movies, including “Titanic.”

Fox and Sogecable will also be teaming up on channel development, launching Fox Kids Network — which will mix Fox and Sogecable children’s programming — on CSD.

Fox’s commitment to Sogecable will strengthen still further its movie muscle. Fox’s high-flying Spanish distrib operation, HispanoFox, has handled Spain’s highest-grossing releases of 1996 and 1997, “Independence Day” ($12.3 million grossed) and “The Full Monty” ($14.7 million), the highest-grossing Spanish film ever, “Airbag” ($8.0 million) and the highest-grossing film in Spain ever, “Titanic” ($28.3 million and counting).

After France, Spain’s under-channeled TV market boasts the strongest base for digital TV in Europe. CSD has just passed 400,000 subscribers looks on course to reach break even with 1 million clients in 2000.

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