Film and TV exec and politician Pedro Antonio Martin Marin looks set to replace Luis Abril at the helm of Admira, Spain’s biggest film and TV company
Martin Marin will become Admira’s fifth prexy in under two years, a punishing management turnover for a company that faces large losses ($304.4 million in 2001) and even larger questions about its current corporate strategy and management vision.
Appointed in January, Luis Abril’s major contribution to Admira was to seal a merger of its digital TV platform, Via Digital, with Spain’s top pay TV operator Sogecable.
Beyond that, however, Admira appears to be running out of steam, plagued by problems that range from its loss-making Argentine broadcasters Telefe and Azul TV to plummeting profits at Spanish web Antena 3 to a slew of appointments motivated more by the execs’ proximity to Spain’s ruling Popular Party than their media experience.
Consumed by larger issues at Telefonica, Abril, a former banker, appeared to have little time — or maybe interest — in greenlighting initiatives to energize the media conglom.
Crucially, Martin Marin does have a media background, having co-founded pic production company Cartel and worked as Antena 3 deputy director between 1991 and 1992.
He is also regarded as a political moderate who, as secretary of state for communication from 1998 to 2000, reigned in the Spanish government’s hostility towards Sogecable’s digital TV operator Canal Satelite Digital.
The big question is whether he has been tapped to bring new energy to Admira, or to bury it through wide-ranging divestments.
Martin-Marin’s most immediate mission is to help shepherd the Sogecable-Via Digital merger through competition authorities in the EU and Spain.
While the merger will hurt indie distribution in Spain, it is getting a thumb’s up from established producers.
“I’m totally in favor of the merger of the two platforms. Otherwise we will end up having two very weak operators that will not be able to invest in film production. I hope competition authorities do not have serious objections to the merger,” says Lolafilms CEO Andres Vicente Gomez.