Distribution reports: Spain

Pay TV may be back to making indie deals

Spanish pay TV may be back to making more deals with local indie distributors.

Recently, top Spanish feevee operator Sogecable inked with Barcelona-based distrib Wide Pictures on 20-plus film titles in a firstrun pay TV rights deal.

This is good news for indies. In 2003, when Telefonica and Prisa merged their digital platforms to create satcaster Digital Plus, the new entity only purchased select mainstream pics and some fest winners while Sogecable mainly tapped movies via multiyear U.S. studio deals.

Digital Plus’ cutback on local pics heralded tough times for Spain’s indie players. Newer pay TV operators –Telefonica’s Imagenio or cable TV ONO — do pick up indie titles, but revs are slighter, basically involving VOD distribution.

“Pay TV’s now looking for more indie films than before,” says Yolanda del Val, DeAPlaneta head of international acquisitions and sales.

Prices paid for the Wide deal will have been substantially lower than prior pay TV agreements in Spain, according to some, but the deal’s importance lies in the fact that it happened at all.

Sogecable’s indie detente still has to yield multiple high-profile deals. “There’s a new interest from pay TV,” says Antonio Mansilla, general manager of distrib-producer Sorolla Films. “Sogecable needs to set itself apart from its competitors, offering movies in exclusivity, satisfying its upscale, well-off viewers.”

CINEMA STATS

Total 2008 box office: $825 million

Total 2008 releases: 518

Biggest indie hit: “Twilight” ($13.5 million)

Local breakout for 2009: “Agora”

PICKUPS:

  • “Centurion” (Aurum Prods.)

  • “LOL (Laughing Out Loud)” (Alta Classics)

  • “Gigante” (Golem Distrib.)

  • “The Company You Keep” (Wide Pictures)

  • “Little Ashes” (Sorolla Films)

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