Spanish giants chase Columbian TV gold

Prisa and Planeta in race for Columbia's third station

MADRID – Spanish media giants Prisa and Planeta have joined separate consortia, which along with a third, are battling to get the nod from the Colombian government to operate the country's third private television station.

Colombia's National Television Commission (CNTV) said it would study the bids and announce the winner next May, in a statement maded late Thursday after the application deadline expired.

Prisa, which controls Spanish channels Digital Plus, the free-to-air Cuatro and Localia, is a member through two of its local subsidiaries in the Pacsa consortium along with other companies and Colombian partner Grupo Nacional de Medios (GNM).

"We believe that the conditions in Colombia over the past several years, particularly the economy, constitute an unbeatable opportunity for our growth" Prisa's managing director for strategic and corporate development, Jaime Polanco, said in May when the company agreed to seek the license with GNM.

Prisa already owns Caracol, one of the two existing Colombian television stations.

Participating in the Canal 3 Television de Colombia consortium are two subsidiaries of Planeta, which has long been active in Latin American book publishing and has a major stake in Spain's Antena 3 channel, along with Finvest, a Colombian radio station and a newspaper.

The members of Inversiones Rendiles, the third group bidding for the license, are Venezuela's Venevision, Global Martu S.L. and three private individuals.