De Agostini, Planeta wed

Alliance unites prod'n, distribution

MADRID — Italian publishing and video distrib giant De Agostini and Spanish media company Planeta have tied the knot on their long-mooted production-distribution alliance.

Despite no official announcement, the stationery of Planeta film and TV subsid Planeta 2010 proudly displays the logo of the new company, DeAPlaneta; Planeta 2010’s switchboard answers to the name of DeAPlaneta.

Last summer the combo was aiming, when launched, to create traditional and interactive contents for multiplatform distribution. Its immediate target markets were Italy and Spain and, beyond that, Europe and Latin America.

The driving force behind the combo was — and remains — Maurizio Carlotti, the former CEO of Silvio Berlusconi’s Italian TV company Mediaset and managing director of Spanish broadcaster Tele 5.

The key question is whether, with most pay TV operators in Italy and Spain still hemorrhaging red ink and wireless broadband Internet in its infancy, DeAPlaneta will be able to maintain its scale of financing and distribution muscle.

Last year, the rumored joint budget for the venture was $500 million. Planeta alone made profits of over $300 million in 2001 by selling off its 10% stake in Tele 5.

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