Potential bidders have expressed internet following the Spanish government’s opening of the auction process to launch six new channels on the country’s digital-terrestrial platform this week. The government’s move follows the forced closure of nine channels last year over alleged regularities in the original process by which licences were granted.
New licences will be granted for three HD and three SD channels. The competition will be open to foreign as well as domestic Spanish players. Licences will be granted for 15 years. Bids must be submitted by May 28.
Atresmedia, which operates the Antena 3 and La Sexta channels and has just reported its first quarter results, said it would bid for two of the six licences. Under the terms of the new procedures applicants will be restricted to bidding for one channel in HD and one in SD. Atresmedia CEO Slivio González has complained about the restriction and called for greater regulatory certainty. Atresemdia was forced to close three channels when the previous awards were cancelled.
Broadcast services group Secuoya has also said it will bid to operate two channels – one thematic service and one general entertainment channel – with a view to building a model that looks beyond traditional advertising for revenue. Group president Raúl Berdones said his group was in talks with US majors including Paramount Disney and Fox.
Other confirmed participants include Mediaset and 13tv. Prisa CEO Juan Luis Cebrian has also said that his group will study the opportunity.
A final decision on the channel awards is expected by October.
Atresmedia posted net revenues of €232 million for the quarter, up 13.5% and EBITDA of €33.9 million, up 270% on the prior year figure. The company said it estimated that the total Spanish TV ad market grew by 12% year-on-year in the first quarter.