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Turner signs pact with Telecinco

Spanish broadcaster boosts kids' fare

Time-Warner’s Turner Broadcasting System has inked a strategic alliance with Telecinco, Spain’s top-rating broadcaster.

The deal is the second big digital free-to-air accord in Spain for a U.S. conglom, after Disney Channel re-launched as a free ad-supported net on DTT in July.

The Turner deal sees Telecinco airing a three-hour children’s programming block weekend mornings on the broadcaster’s main free-to-air Telecinco channel.

Telecinco will also sked six hours daily of kids fare on its DTT channel Telecinco 2.

Turner shows in the deal include Craig McCracken’s Cartoon Network classics, “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends,” and Steven Spielberg’s animated TV series for Warner Bros., “Animaniacs” and “Tiny Toon Adventures.”

The pact marks a powerful push for Telecinco into children’s programming as it seeks to solve one of the biggest challenges for European broadcasters: how to grow their ancillary digital terrestrial TV channels without cannibalizing their established core channel biz.

Prior to the Turner accord, Telecinco programmed just a few hours of in-house kids’ programming on its main Telecinco channel: tykes fare simply couldn’t hit average Telecinco channel shares.

Over the last year, however, market share at channel Telecinco, like other Spanish webs, has tumbled, eroded in part by DTT.

The Telecinco web topped Spanish TV charts with a 20.5% all-day share in November 2007. In November 2008, it still led ratings, but with just 17.6%.

Last month, though it still attracts little ad revs, DTT commanded an overall 20.2% TV market share in Spain.

Spanish DTT is dominated by three children’s feeds: broadcaster Antena 3 TV’s Antena.Neox (5.4% of cable/satellite/DTT viewers), pubcaster service Clan TVE (5.2%) and Disney Channel (4.3%).

Skedding weekday news and celeb magazines on core channel Telecinco when its kids fare plays on Telecinco 2, the Spanish broadcaster looks set to grow more audience than it destroys with its Turner deal.

And Telecinco 2’s kids programming can cross-promote Telecinco’s kids’ block, and vice-versa.

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