Disney is considering launching its premium Cinemagic channel in Spain after the core Disney Channel goes free-to-air in July. Disney management also told TBIvision that the free-to-air launch in Spain does not pave the way for similar moves elsewhere.
"We have a whole new business model and set of relationships in the Spanish market," John Hardie, executive VP and managing director, Disney Channels EMEA told TBIvision. "We will still have Playhouse and Toon Disney [in pay] and we’re considering launching Cinemagic. It’s a portfolio approach – we can extract revenues from the free TV ad market and from pay TV."
The Spanish move does not mark the start by Disney of strategy of pursuing a free-to-air launches for the Disney Channel. "This is a Spanish solution," Hardie said. "This is not a test for what we have planned for elsewhere. In the rest of Europe we have the right model and are not interested in making more channels free-to-air at the moment."
Disney announced May 28th that it was taking its main channel free-to-air, which will catapult it into 6m homes. DTT is now in about 32% of Spanish homes and switchover is set for 2010. The Disney deal was made possible after it took a 20% stake in DTT channel operator Net TV earlier this year.
A TV and poster campaign letting the Spanish public know about the channel moving into free TV kicks of at end June with a strapline that translates ‘At last for everyone’.