Spain’s gov’t OKs TV investment regs

Commission to be created, track fulfillment of quotas

MADRID — The Spanish government has approved new regs tightening up the application of local TV quotas that require Spanish TV operators to invest in Spanish films.

Under current rules, introduced in 1999, Spain’s principal TV operators are obliged to invest 5% of their annual revenues in European films; 60% of the coin must be plowed into films in one of Spain’s official languages — Spanish, Catalan, Galician or Basque.

But Spanish pic producers have consistently complained that broadcasters ignore the quotas.

Now a royal decree, passed Friday by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s ruling Socialists, has clarified what kind of programming fulfills the quotas — ruling out TV series but including movies, TV movies, docus, toon pics and fiction shorts.

Decree also greenlights the creation of a government commission, under the aegis of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism & Commerce, to track broadcasters’ fulfillment of the quotas.

TV funding is crucial for Spanish pic production. Even with incomplete quota compliance, TV finance repped about 38% of a total $300 million investment in film production in 2003.

With the legislation in place, producers will be able to make more ambitious movies, declared Pedro Perez, prexy of Spain’s powerful Fapae producers association.

For now at least, Spanish broadcasters look set to comply, if grudgingly, with the new legislation.

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