Spain's film, TV revenue leaps 37% in 5 years

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MADRID -- Revenue from Spain's audiovisual production sector climbed to €1.8 billion ($2.4 billion) in 2006, marking a 37% rise from five years ago, according to the annual report released Tuesday by Spain's Federation of Associations of Audiovisual Producer.

The FAPAE report, which shows 88% of revenue coming from Madrid and Barcelona, also said that exports had grown to €95.8 million ($128.9 million) in 2006, up from €84.3 million the year before and €45.9 million in 2000.

"It's important to emphasize that the value of the film exports is enormously important, given that, in 2006, it meant 64% of the total of film and TV exports," FAPAE said in the report. "In 2000, both forms of production represented practically the same value in export sales."

FAPAE highlighted the creation of sales companies specializing in exports, Spain's Foreign Trade Institute's (ICEX) support of international premieres and the international success of a handful of Spanish directors as factors that have generated a positive image of Spanish cinema abroad.

Meanwhile, the tremendous effort the industry has invested in "conquering" the U.S. market seems to be paying off, with a rise in sales accounting for 30% of all 2006 film and TV exports. Europe, Spain's traditional market, continued to lead the ranks with 44% of sales, despite having dropped 11% from 2005.

The most significant jump in sales came from in Latin America, which accounted for 21% of overall sales, compared with just 5% in 2002.

Citing the Culture Ministry's Film Institute, FAPAE said Spain produced 150 films in 2006, up from 142 the year before, with 41 co-productions.

"We're experiencing an interesting moment," FAPAE president Pedro Perez said at a press conference, referring to the burgeoning number of new platforms and windows available to content.

"We could almost say that terrestrial digital television was born obsolete," Perez said.

The FAPAE report indicates that Spain has about 40 million cell phones and is one of the European leaders of cell phone content consumption. Citing a Buenglomo My Alert sector study, FAPAE reported that 70% of Spaniards download tones, tunes and logos.
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