MADRID — Once a huge yet sleepy presence in Latin America, giant Spanish pubcaster Radio Television Espanola (RTVE) has overhauled its strategy for the region, aiming to become one of the subcontinent’s most significant satcasters.

RTVE plans to exploit the current distribution impact of international satcast feed RTVE Internacional, which reaches some 11 million TV homes in Latin America, to put through a serious of groundbreaking measures:

  • As part of a $60 million, three-year financing deal with the Spanish film industry struck last month, RTVE will take Latin American satellite and cable rights to Spanish pics for their transmission on TVE Internacional.

  • TVE Internacional will transmit “Project America,” a series of publicity profiles of Spanish export companies and product from different Spain’s regions.

  • The creation this spring of a RTVE Miami office to revise TVE Internacional’s contracts with local cable operators and prime RTVE program sales and ad sales for TVE Internacional.

“The Miami office will allow us to establish closer contacts with producers in Latin America. You lose opportunities just working out of Madrid,” RTVE’s CEO Pio Cabanillas told Daily Variety.

RTVE’s new Latin American gameplan exemplifies the pubcaster’s sharpening of both its public service ethos and commercial edge under Cabanillas. He was appointed CEO of RTVE in November.

Since then Cabanillas has moved swiftly to contain RTVE’s debt at the 1998 year-end level of $4 billion and has boosted RTVE’s docu remit and upscaled its primetime schedule.