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Specialist Guide to the
Global Leaders in Media Law Practice
Convergence continues to mark industry trends as technology drives the demand for new services by traditional clients,
say media law practitioners.
Albert Agustinoy Guilayn, Cuatrecasas, explained: “Convergence is driving the development of new clients and existing clients are increasingly affected by technology-related matters.”
Developments in the television sector are also reshaping the market while contributing to growth. Profit margins are on an upward trend with convergent TV offers and the proliferation of new OTT platforms.
According to the latest report by Spain’s regulatory body, CNMC, pay-TV revenue increased by 14.8 per cent, reaching EUR 520 million in Q1 of 2017, during which the market saw a record rate of subscriptions and revenues.
In September 2017 Sky launched an OTT service offering entertainment-focussed content with 12 of the most popular Spanish TV channels.
Spain’s online gaming market reported strong growth in 2016 and surpassed EUR 500 million in revenue in 2017. In June 2017 Vodafone Spain launched an esports channel on Twitch, a streaming platform owned by Amazon.
Speaking of other important areas of development, Mr Guilayn highlighted the impact of GDPR.
He said: “This piece of legislation introduces a set of duties and procedures that are relevant for technology-driven clients but more importantly to traditional clients, which are required to update their technical systems to these requirements.
Mr Guilayn added: “So, we are seeing an increase in convergence around technology-driven and traditional clients.”
Baker McKenzie’s increased visibility and activity in the media sector attracts multi-level praise. The firm has gained prominence under the leadership of Jose Maria Méndez, who is singled out for exceptional sector-related advice. The media team advises on Spanish tax incentives for foreign productions, on DTT licensing and on protecting and exploiting rights. Other areas of focus include regulation, commercial agreements, mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property.
Cuatrecasas regularly works with clients from television and publishing sectors. The practice plays a key role advising audio-visual producers on film production and distribution. Managed by Albert Agustinoy, the team provides broader assistance with corporate and commercial matters, tax and dispute resolution. Other areas of practice include marketing and advertising regulations, freedom of speech and protection of image and publicity rights.
Media, entertainment and sports are core areas of specialisation for Hugu Ecija, founder of ECIJA. The practice has a leading reputation and is frequently highlighted by peers. With full-service capabilities, the firm acted as a the sole legal counsel for Glomedia Group, advising on all mandates related to commercial and distribution contract for its productions with television channels in Spain and abroad. Lawyers also assisted Fremantle Media with contracts, image rights, product placement and licensing.
The media team at has the respect of its competitors and clients. Lawyers provide advice that is “clear, practical and to the point.” The practice is firmly positioned among Spain’s leading firms for media. One client noted “Carolina Pina, Ignacio Gonzalez and Antonio Muñoz Molina have all shown a high level of technical expertise. They make clear recommendations that are aligned with the business' objectives and needs.” Joint practice leader Ms Pina specialises in sports law and works closely with co-head of division Javier Marzo who has extensive transactional experience.
Uría Menéndez’s work with media sector clients involves regulations for television and radio and related transfer of licenses and concessions. Other core focus areas include the sale and purchase of media companies and public tenders. Leading practitioners Pablo González-Espejo and Teresa Paz-Ares lead the team on a range of cases connected with corporate and commercial matters.
As noted by one client, CMS is “a firm, with broad, practical experience and strong participation in the media sector in Spain” The firm’s digital and data group is led by Blanca Escribano who is described by clients as “efficient, prompt and knowledgeable”. Clients say the firm’s “work shows extraordinary media law knowledge.” The Madrid boutique practice provides cross-practice, multi-jurisdictional advice on film, publishing, games, music and sports among other segments.
Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo media and entertainment practice group covers a broad range of matters including publishing, distribution and production contracts and videographic licenses. Under the leadership of Santiago Rodríguez Bajón the team advises on print publishing, film and television production, advertising and communication. The firm also represents artists and athletes.
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo integrates its TMT division with IP and IT to provide multidisciplinary advice. Almudena Arpón de Mendívil Aldama and Eduardo Gómez de la Cruz are the firm’s primary contacts advising on internet and new technology, broadcast and corporate law.
Media work at Hogan Lovells includes multiple areas of advice that include tax structures for films. Broadcast and entertainment segments feature prominently on the list of related work over the past year. Head of department Gonzalo F. Gállego takes the lead on multiple cases involving publishing agreements, television licensing and tax-based schemes for the financing of film productions. The media team is highlighted by book publishing clients with one commenting: “We were very impressed by their professionalism as well as their personal interest in our case.”
Abril Abogados has the respect of its peers nationally. The practice has an established position developed through its copyright and entertainment specialisation. Lawyers have broad experience in multiple areas of work connected with advertising, marketing, image rights and exploitation media and new technologies. Sub sectors covered by the firm include music, print and digital publishing, cinema, theatre and television. Founding partner Carlos González Valdés also advise on unfair competition and litigation.
Pilar Sánchez-Bleda manages the media division at Auren which incorporates entertainment, intellectual property and litigation. The firm represents film and television producers, distributors, publishing companies and gaming companies. Working with Spanish production company Plano a Plano, lawyers advised on its productions El Príncipe and Allí Abajo, both for broadcast on national television. The team is also recognised for its regular advice on regulations affecting the film, gaming and advertising sectors.
Broseta Abogados acts for TMT sector companies in administrative, procedural, competition and intellectual property matters. Fernando Cacho and María Casado are among the firm’s key practitioners advising on broadcasting, advertising and e-commerce. The team also has extensive knowledge of IT law and outsourcing.
The TMT group at Pérez-Llorca is just one division dedicated to media work. The firm’s sector coverage extends to areas that all feature under separate practice groups including internet and new technologies, sport, copyright, data protection and e-commerce. From contractual to transactional and regulatory work, the firm’s multidisciplinary team of lawyers advises on a range of cases including investment, divestment, and joint ventures of companies.
Pintó Ruiz & Del Valle is gaining prominence nationally through increased activity and market visibility. Clients praise the firm’s lawyers who “demonstrated a high capacity and talent to solve complex legal issues.” The firm is noted for its advice on television and radio broadcasting rights and sports betting. Head of department Yago Vázquez is noted by clients who said: “Particularly in the area of media, both José Juan Pintó and Yago Vázquez have an excellent knowledge and experience that, combined with their accurate understanding of the sports business, allows for excellent legal advice.”
Areas of focus at Sol Muntañola Abogados include entertainment, advertising and copyright – with a particular emphasis on author’s rights and image rights. Marita Dargallo Nieto manages the firm’s media division and is frequently highlighted by clients for her expertise and professionalism. The team advises on music industry clients, publishers and companies in the audio-visual sphere.
Ashurst’s international emphasis on communications and media is coupled with intellectual property. Madrid-based Pable García Mexía specialises in advising on social and legal aspects of online media. The firm’s works on cases connected with data protection and freedom of information, broadcasting and media, betting and gaming.
The TMT division at Roca Junyent is complimented by an independent practice group dedicated to sports. With broad experience and expertise, the firm’s position is widely respected by peers who note its sector activity and advice on media rights, e-commerce and regulation. Albert Segura Roda, Francesc A. Baygual Davoust and Jean-Louis Dupont are the firm’s primary contacts for sector-related work.
Salvador Ferrandis & Partners notably works on cases involving copyright. Known for its work on intellectual property, the practice has significant experience in related litigation. The team advises on unfair competition, antitrust law and personal data protection. Lawyers have particular experience advising on contractual issues, including licensing, distribution and technology transfer.
Bird & Bird
Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo
Sol Muntañola Abogados
Allen & Overy
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Simmons & Simmons
Bufete Otero Lastres
Salvador Ferrandis & Partners
RANKING AND EDITORIALS