Barrois to lead Telecinco Cinema

Exec remains as head of acquisitions

SAN SEBASTIAN — Ghislain Barrois has been tapped as CEO of Telecinco Cinema, the film production arm of Spanish broadcaster Telecinco.

Barrois, who replaces producer Alvaro Augustin, continues as Telecinco’s head of acquisitions. Augustin stays on as general director of Telecinco Cinema.

Move forms part of a re-organization of Telecinco’s content management team, which continues to be headed up by general director Manuel Villanueva.

Telecinco Cinema is Spain’s most successful film production company, a driving force behind international hits such as Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” and Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Orphanage.” It also co-produced Steven Soderbergh’s “Che” and is co-producing Alejandro Amenabar’s upcoming “Agora,” toplining Rachel Weisz.

In early September, private broadcaster Antena 3, Telecinco’s main rival, also replaced its Antena 3 Films topper Tedy Villalba with acquisition exec Mercedes Gamero.

With the recession and rapid audience fragmentation combining to force down ad revenue, broadcasters are re-thinking their film policies.

For Telecinco or Antena 3, film investment was an obligation with little hope of upside, even in the good times.

Obliged by Spain’s version of the European Union “Television Without Frontiers” directive to invest 5% of their yearly income in Spanish and European films and TV movies, broadcasters are hard pushed to turn a profit.

“Channels can’t control their film investment as much as with TV shows. Movies don’t perform well in broadcast ratings or at the box office. It’s a lottery,” said a Madrid-based expert.

Under Villanueva’s leadership, Patricia Marco will head Telecinco’s TV division, Chema Bautista, new business, Leonardo Baltanas, content production, and Barrois, film and rights acquisitions.