×

Telefonica’s Canal Plus Purchase Approved

Spain’s competition authorities thumbs up telco purchase of premium Spanish paybox

MADRID – Spain’s antitrust National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC) has given the thumbs up on Telefonica’s €719 million ($781.5 million) purchase of Prisa’s 56% stake in top Spanish pay TV operator Canal Plus.

Thrashed out over months between Telefonica and Spain’s competition authority, the conditions are less onerous than feared: Telefonica may still, for example, bundle content and broadband access in triple and quad-play offers.

Telefonica will now also take on Canal Plus’ obligation to invest in Spanish movies and TV. Added to this, CNMC limitations in exclusivity on rights to acquired content will do nothing to decelerate Telefonica’s drive into the production and co-production of original series and movies on which the CNMC does allow Telefonica to exercise –exclusivity.

That drive has already begun: From its September 2013 official launch, Telefonica Studios has co-produced nearly 30 titles in Spain and Argentina.

One question — and it will most probably take Telefonica, one of the biggest telcos in Europe, some time to digest the strategic import of the CNMC rulings — is whether Telefonica will also now look to take minority equity on U.S. or big European TV series, as it drives into self-produced content.

Announced Thursday after market close, CNMC conditions include a commitment to make available a wholesale offer of 50% of its premium content to rival pay TV operators in Spain. This takes in firstrun Hollywood studio movies and TV series and big sports: Formula One racing, the World Racing World Championship, the Olympic Games, Basketball World Cup and soccer matches from La Liga, Champions League, FIFA World Cup, Europa League and King’s Cup. Rivals will pay for these contents via wholesale deals at regulated rates.

Press reports had suggested Telefonica would have to make 75% of premium content available to rivals. Also forbidden are lock-ups clauses on bundled or standalone offers; Telefonica must offer its Internet infrastructure to all payboxes, providing at least three routes into its broadband network.

CNMC’s conditions will be considered legally binding in 15 days, with no recourse to appeal. Less than three weeks out from the Cannes Festival and the L.A. Screenings, CNMC’s milestone approval has at least removed Telefonica’s biggest content uncertainty: Whether it would be set acceptable conditions with regards to its ownership of Canal Plus. Traditionally Spain’s biggest paybox, Canal Plus is now a Telefonica company.

More TV

  • Love Island - Pictured: Kyra Green,

    TV Ratings: Is 'Love Island' Deserted?

    Two weeks have passed on “Love Island” and plenty of singles have coupled and uncoupled in their bid for love and a fat $100,000 pay check. However, there’s one couple that doesn’t seem to be hitting it off: CBS and “Love Island.” Ratings for the show have been far from paradisiacal, and with the network [...]

  • Jenny Wall Eryk Casemiro Nickelodeon

    Jenny Wall Named Nickelodeon CMO, Eryk Casemiro Named Senior VP of Nickelodeon Preschool

    Nickelodeon has hired two new executives, tapping Jenny Wall to become chief marketing officer and Eryk Casemiro to become senior vice president of Nickelodeon Preschool. Most recently CMO at Spotify-owned Gimlet Media, Wall will be responsible for all on- and off-air consumer marketing, brand creative and content launches across all of Nickelodeon’s platforms, including Nicktoons, [...]

  • Liz Garbus on Why We May

    Liz Garbus on Why The World May Never Know 'Who Killed Garrett Phillips'

    By the time Liz Garbus’s two-part documentary “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?” debuts on HBO, there could be a new public lead in the case of the murdered titular 12-year-old. As least, that’s what many may hope after the new St. Lawrence County district attorney admitted a new tip earlier this spring. Garbus says she would [...]

  • Mike Fleiss

    'Bachelor' Producers in Wait-and-See Mode Amid Police Probe Into Fleiss Incident

    Those working on “The Bachelor” and its sister shows are in wait-and-see mode as a domestic incident involving creator Mike Fleiss continues to be investigated in Kauai, according to sources close to production. The results of the police investigation are still pending, after Fleiss’ wife, Laura Fleiss, had accused him of attacking her in their [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Cable Blackouts Growing More Common, Even If Subscribers Get Angry

    Among media companies, “going dark” was once a matter of last resort. Now it’s an option that is seeing more light. CBS is not currently available on DirecTV or AT&T’s U-verse, the result of a battle over how much the two outlets’ owner, AT&T, ought to pay for the right to send CBS into millions [...]

  • maria elena salinas

    CBS News Names Maria Elena Salinas Contributor

    Maria Elena Salinas, one of the best-known anchors in Spanish-language broadcasting, will join CBS News as a contributor, Susan Zirinsky, the unit’s president, told staffers Monday. Salinas stepped down from her role at Univision at the end of 2017 after an on-air tenure of more than three decades. She is expected to contribute reports across [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content