Real Madrid TV changes business model

"With its brand and following, Real Madrid TV has great potential beyond Spain," says Richard Brook, corporate development director at European sports broadcasting company Setanta. "Films and soccer TV lifestyle/entertainment programming are less established business models."

RMTV started life in February 1999 as a paid-for option on basic cable in Spain, show business newspaper, Variety, reported. By late last year it had just 65,000 subs -- something had to change.

It relaunched in February as a free channel on basic cable and has inked with Hispasat, Astra, Eutelsat, PanAmSat, AsiaSat and Intelsat Americas to transmit round-the-clock Spanish- and English-language versions. The English-version will broadcast worldwide, barring Africa.

It has a slew of projects on the go aiming at transforming RMTV "from a local niche pay TV service into an international, sports, entertainment and lifestyle service," according to director Michael Novack.

It has teamed with Interactive Sports Television to develop and broadcast interactive TV program "Realmadrid Life" for local-language editions in Asia and French satellite broadcaster TPS has signed to carry RMTV and as well as weekly programming blocks on TPS Foot soccer channel.

Novack says it's also prepping a raft of half-hour TV series: a weekly health magazine; players' biodocs (The Road); one-on-one interviews (Real Insight); and insights into players' private passions (Inside Out). There's a muppet-style series, manga toontoon skeinskein and a drama on Madrid fans in the works.

As if all that's not enough, the club's first feature, Real, the Movie, premiered on 26 August in Spain (albeit to a disappointing first-weekend gross of $77,919). It's also co-producing docupic Football: the Birth of a Passion and cooperating on Goal! 2 and a film portrait of player Zinedine Zidane by producer Joni Sighvatsson for Universal France.