Mediapro works on pay-TV football

Spanish producer Mediapro, laSexta's main content provider, wants to make its soccer audiovisual rights profitable so is working on the launch of a pay soccer channel. The planned channel could be distributed on cable, satellite, DSL TV or even on DTT. In the case of DTT distribution and taking account the channel will follow the pay TV model the company will have to wait for the new Ministry of Industry -to be formed in the next days after the recent Spanish general elections- to change the DTT law and so take the decision to legally allow payment on Spain's DTT platform.

According to the company's sources the new channel will offer the most interesting four weekly matches of Spanish First Division Soccer making 16 monthly matches. Each match will cost €1, making the €12 per pay-per-view match on satellite operator Sogecable's Digital+ ridiculous.

Until season 2009-2010, Mediapro will have audiovisual rights to 38 out of 42 total soccer clubs from the First and Second Leagues. But from next season -starting in August 2009- the producer will be able to exploit rights from Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona clubs; these are the two most profitable soccer clubs for pay-TV.

Last July, Mediapro announced the agreement it reached with 38 soccer clubs to whom it will pay €500 million for each of the five seasons signed. Experts on this market doubt the company will be able to make its business profitable.

But Mediapro will also sell out its soccer rights to other operators on the pay-per-view model basis. Among 10 First League matches playing each week, four will be transmitted on the new pay TV channel, one will be offered in the clear -according to the Law on Sporting Events- and of the rest five matches will be able to transmit on PPV.

Mediapro got the soccer TV rights from Sogecable by negotiating directly with the football clubs and offering more cash than Sogecable, which held the rights for most of them up until next season. Mediapro's move led to the second Spanish football “war” - the first one being between Sogecable's former satellite pay-TV operator Canal Satélite Digital and Telefónica's former satellite pay TV operator Vía Digital.

But Sogecable must negotiate with Mediapro if Spain's biggest audiovisual company wants to have soccer as the key content for its satellite pay-TV operator Digital+.