Disney to test free TV scheme in Spain

The Disney Channel will be available free-to-air for the first time as part of a trial in Spain that could herald a new business model for the Walt Disney property, according to the Financial Times.


The newspaper added that Disney attributes much of the rapid international growth of its core television franchise to the decision to make it part of basic cable and satellite subscription services across Europe, expanding its reach.


The decision to go a step further in Spain reflects the rapid growth of digital terrestrial television (DTT) in the market, which is expected to complete its switchover from analogue to digital broadcast signals by 2010, two years ahead of some other large European markets such as the UK.


John Hardie, managing director for Disney's channels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, was quoted in the Financial Times saying, "In this market the balance seems to be leaning more towards free TV, at least in the next five years."