Antena 3 lands Disney free-to-air rights

Agreement on first-run Disney titles to start in 2011

MADRID -- The Walt Disney Company and Spain's Antena 3 announced a deal Monday that gives the Spanish broadcaster exclusive free-to-air rights on first-run Disney titles and effectively restructures Disney's strategy in Spain.

The agreement, which will start at the beginning 2011, means Antena 3 will air live-action films like "Alice in Wonderland," "Hannah Montana, the Movie," "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "Tron: Legacy" or "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" in prime time in Spain.

Animation highlights covered under the new plan include "Toy Story 3" and "The Princess and the Frog."

The move, announced at MIPCOM, comes days after rival Spanish network Telecinco signed a broad strategic alliance with the Walt Disney Company for new series, feature films and other original programming from Disney, ABC Studios and ABC Family.

Together the two deals break with the Mouse House's previous strategy, which saw movies divvied up between Antena 3 and pubcaster TVE, while Cuatro -- now owned by Telecinco -- took series.

"Today's announcement means one more step in the successful path of collaboration we have developed with Antena 3 for some time," CEO of Walt Disney in Spain and Portugal Simon Amselem said.

For Antena 3, the deal bolsters its content just as Spain's burgeoning television landscape is exponentially growing thanks to the analogue blackout. Stalwarts like Antena 3 and Telecinco are looking to secure enticing programming to stand out from the crowd.

"Without a doubt, having in exclusive the best products of the Disney factory strengthens our brand in fiction and gives us added value with respect to our competition," said Antena 3 Group's TV General Manager Javier Bardaji.