Spanish broadcaster Telecinco has confirmed a significant shift inits film acquisitions and production policy, turning its back on lengthy Hollywoodcontracts in favour of more selective pacts with both US indies and local suppliers.

Opting for cost-cutting multi-title package deals with leading US producersand mini-studios rather than long-term output agreements with the big studiomajors, the network unveiled new product agreements with DreamWorks, NewRegency, New Line Cinema, Hyde Park, Spyglass Entertainment, Pandemonium andTri-Pictures.

The accords vary in duration but each spans a minimum of fivetitles per year. The deal with DreamWorks includes 70 films. Among the higherprofile titles encompassed by these new agreements are A Beautiful Mind, Catch Me If You Can, I Am Sam, Shanghai Knights, Bruce Almighty and The Mexican.

And, in a move sure to be welcomed by the local industry,Telecinco also announced plans to increase spending on Spanish films and forgeddeals with four different Spanish distributors - Filmax, Lauren Films, MangaFilms and Sogepaq - allowing it further access to both local and internationalproduct.

'This strategy allows us to reign in the out-of-house productioncosts which over the last few years have skyrocketed," said Telecinco CEO PabloVasile, who last May was already talking up plans to "drastically reduce" theacquisition of US films via long-term contracts.

The first tangible evidence of this new approach came in Septemberwhen Telecinco declined to renew its five-year output deal with Disney's BuenaVista.

"Global agreements with the majors weigh down the channel'scatalog and library, and raise costs," added general manager Manuel Villanueva."This is why we have decided to go to the sources, the origin: to theproducers."

Acquisitions spending on feature films at Telecinco is expected todecrease from Euros 120m in 2002 to Euros 90m in 2003.

Price tags on the new agreements were not revealed, nor was theoverall investment for Spanish product. Among local films Telecinco willco-produce and/or buy free-to-air rights to are: sequels to box office hits TheOther Side Of The Bed (ElOtro Lado De La Cama)and Moscow Gold (ElOro De Moscu); thePenelope Cruz-starrer Don't Move (Non Ti Muovere); and action-thriller Lobo.

The company's investment in TV movies and other small-screen productincludes the Euros 125m multi-country miniseries, now in production, Imperium with EOS Entertainment and Lux Vide, andNapoleon, starringGerard Depardieu, John Malkovich and Isabella Rosellini.