Spain makes it plain

Gov't proposes 5% of TV revs go to fund pix

MADRID — Spain’s conservative government has proposed an ambitious film-financing scheme that would plow as much as $100 million from TV players into local film production.

The measures would require local broadcasters to commit sums equal to 5% of their annual revenues to the production or purchase of Spanish films.

A doubling of funding

The new reg would double the current Spanish film investment from local webs — currently pegged at approximately $46 million through annual commitments from satcaster Via Digital ($15 million), pubcaster Rtve ($13 million) conglom Sogecable ($10 million) and the Forta regional stations ($8 million). Those informal commitments would be superseded by the new more binding legislative reg.

Enrique de las Casas, deputy president of Spain’s powerful Fapae producers body, claimed the measures would bring to Spanish film financing the same “guaranteed, stable TV financing” that other European countries enjoy.

The new reg would be part of Spain’s legislative implementation of the EU’s 1997 Television Without Frontiers directive.

For once, the governing Partido Popular’s proposal seems to have drawn wide political consensus, including support from the Catalan CiU party, which partners the conservatives in power.

Some opposition

The main opposition to the bill has come from Spain’s private broadcasters, Antena 3 and Tele 5, and media conglom Sogecable. They all have their own agendas that they would like to push in exchange for shouldering the new film-funding costs.

At a Parliamentary subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, top execs from Tele 5 and Antena 3 suggested that they would only agree to the new financing rulings if wider issues, such as Rtve’s unlimited ceiling on TV advertising, were also addressed.

And Sogecable’s secretary general Miguel Satrustegui argued that the new measures would only work if Rtve bought Spanish films regardless of their producer. Satrustegui pointed out that Rtve, which is a partner in Via Digital, the rival digital satcaster to Sogecable’s CanalSatelite Digital, had not bought a single film from Sogecable since 1996.

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