Medusa eyes fatter distribution slate

But 2009 summer slate still blank

ROME -- Italian film production and distribution giant Medusa said Wednesday that it plans to up its annual feature output to 30 films, but that its 2009 summer distribution schedule is still completely blank.

The film sector subsidiary of Italian broadcast giant Mediaset, Medusa is the largest domestic distributor in Italy, with a 17.5% market share last year. It owns more than a third of the distribution market for home grown films.

The 30-film total is higher than its current slate of 24 films per year, and means that Medusa is likely to be an aggressive buyer in the coming months.

Medusa was moved under the Mediaset umbrella last year as the broadcaster worked to transform itself into a content provider as a way to hedge against slowing ad sales. Mediaset also acquired control of Dutch reality television producer Endemol and signed an exclusive $600 million content deal with U.S. producers Universal and Warner Bros.
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