Spanish broadcaster Telecinco plans to cut its spending on US films by 20% by the end of 2005, according to CEO Paolo Vasile.

In statements made to local financial newspaper Expansion and confirmed independently to Screen Daily by the private free-to-air network, Vasile said the cut-backs aim to reduce overall programming costs by 4%-5%.

Telecinco has already declined to renew its five-year output deal with Buena Vista/Disney, signed in 1998 and up for renewal this September.

Vasile said the network "will drastically reduce the acquisition of US film packages" and shun long-term contracts with the studios in favour of increased in-house production.

"What's more, we will lengthen the use of films picked up in 2002, a year in which we significantly increased investment."

Acquired product, principally from the US, accounted for about one-third of Telecinco's estimated Euros 400m programming spend last year.

Sources at the channel say the new reductions will not affect European and Spanish film acquisitions or co-productions - overseen by filial Estudios Picasso - since the law requires broadcasters to invest 5% of their annual income in European product, 3% of which goes to Spanish product.