Why on earth do Spain’s TV channels always cut out film credits?

woman watching tv in spain , film credits
Unfortunately, it looks like Spanish TV's credits-cutting habit is going nowhere anytime soon.Photo: Kalila Kal/Pixabay
If you’ve watched a movie on Spanish TV you may have noticed that once it ends, they abruptly cut to ads or another film without showing the credits. Why does this happen?

You’re watching a fantastic film at home in Spain, one that’s impressed you for its cinematography, acting or location.

But just as the final scene ends and you’re anticipating checking out the main credits, the channel quickly cuts to ads or directly into another film or programme, not giving you the time to process, talk about it or make yourself a coffee.

Why do Spanish televison channels do this?

In an interview published by Spanish broadcaster RTVE in 2011 (which showcases how long the problem has been going on for), short film director and screenwriter Raúl Díez Rodríguez sent in a video complaint denouncing how La 2 channel was cutting out the credits and thus the recognition of people in the film and TV business.

“This omission constitutes damage to intellectual property rights,” Díez read from Spanish legal text, but La 2 responded that they only had to show 15 seconds of credits as that is their rule. 

More recently in 2018, Spanish writer Javier Sierra also tweeted: “Why don’t TV in the UK cut off the credits, at the end of the movies and in Spain they always do it? Isn’t it disrespectful to creators?

One Twitter user argued, “well, I suppose that for the same reason why in Spain most people leave the cinema when the credits begin”, and another said “nobody can last 5 minutes seeing a black background with passing names”.

But other commentators didn’t agree with that view, saying it showed a lack of respect and ethics as well as an attack on intellectual property. 

So is there an official answer to why the majority of Spanish TV channels cut out credits?

Money from advertising is the most likely answer, as this remains the primary source of income for private television channels, albeit dwindling as mobile video takes a bigger chunk of viewership. 

Most foreigners in Spain will agree that Spanish TV channels show a higher amount of TV ads than back in their home countries. 

In early 2020 as Spaniards were confined to their homes during the first coronavirus lockdown, there were as many as 900 hours of TV adverts a week across the channels. 

The limit of ads per hour in Spain was supposed to be 12 minutes but Spain’s independent competition regulator the CNMC has opened up investigations against big media companies such as Mediaset and RTVE for surpassing these limits, in the public broadcaster’s case for showing too many self-promo ads.

In November 2021 the Spanish government made the limits more flexible to a maximum of 144 minutes of ads between 6 am and 6 pm, and a maximum limit of 72 minutes between 6:00 pm and 12:00 pm.

Keeping all this in mind, it seems that replacing the five minutes of a film’s credits with money-generating TV ads is an offer private channels find too hard to pass up on. 

And unfortunately for film crews and creators, it looks like Spanish TV’s credits-cutting habit is going nowhere anytime soon. At least people in Spain don’t have to pay a TV licence.

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  1. We once sat in a cinema in Olot and refused to leave until they showed all the ending credits!
    This they did with no argument.
    We were the last to leave…

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