Imagina launches int'l sales unit

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MADRID -- Spanish TV production heavyweight Imagina on Tuesday announced the launch of its own international sales branch, Imagina Sales International, in what amounts to a major shakeup for the Spanish TV sales arena.

Imagina was formed last year by the merger of Spain's Grupo Arbol and Mediapro television interests along with smaller companies Mercuri, Ovideo and Media 3.14. Among Mediapro's interests is a controlling stake in free-to-air TV channel La Sexta.

Jose Huertas Le Douare, from Grupo Arbol upper management, has been tapped to head the new department and Geraldine Gornard, formerly general manager of international sales company Grupo Pi, will act as head of sales.

The move leaves Grupo Pi, the sales operation that previously pooled the product of Arbol's TV production branch Globomedia, along with TV producers Boca Boca, Drive Entertainment and Video Mercury, in a greatly reduced state.

Though only a 25% stakeholder in Grupo Pi, Globomedia contributed the lion's share of the sales catalog. Drive also has inked with Imagina's sales arm, leaving just Boca Boca and Video Mercury with Grupo Pi.

Zip Films, Rodar & Rodar, ISKRA and DG Producciones also have signed with Imagina to handle their sales.

The new sales structure increases Imagina's competitiveness in international distribution, strengthens its commercial structure and answers the group's burgeoning needs to commercialize its quickly growing audiovisual rights portfolio. Imagina partner Mediapro recently became the TV rights holder of most of Spain's top soccer teams, including Real Madrid and Barcelona.

"The new company channels the international sales activity for Mediapro and Globomedia, along with the other partners," explained Gornard. "TV programs are doing very well right now and the company will start with an emphasis on television."

Imagina's catalog includes such series as "Seven Lives," "SMS," "Aida" and "The Serrano"; entertainment programs including "El Club de Flo"; documentaries like "Franco's Dirty Work" and "Dimension Dali"; and telefilms including "Fragments."

In addition, Mediapro is an important film producer in Spain and Gornard said Imagina will certainly look to secure some of its parent company's titles in the future.

Imagina's sales branch will have a stand at this year's NATPE, but an official launch isn't planned until MipTV.
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