Spain’s television industry looks set for a radical reorganisation under new ownership regulations proposed by the government this week.

Under draft legislation, media firms will be limited to one TV shareholding each, be it in a local, regional or national broadcaster.

The new law, if enacted, means leading media group Telefónica must abandon either its controlling share of the Antena 3 network or its stake in the pay-TV monopoly to be forged from the merger of its own Via Digital and rival operator Sogecable [WAMN: 10-May-02].

It is expected to sell Antena 3. Several foreign groups are said to be interested in the broadcaster, which attracts about one-quarter of Spain’s television ad market and 20% of the country’s TV audience.

Sogecable’s owner, Prisa, also has a tough decision. It can keep either its pay-TV holding or the grouping of 60 local stations it has been building into a national network.

The government’s move is thought to presage a regulatory green light for the pay-TV merger. A decision is expected next month.

Media groups have a year to comply with the new rules, expected to be ratified by the end of the year.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff