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Mexico eyes Televisa competition

Mexican regulators are set to impose broadcast restrictions on TV giant Grupo Televisa and have called for bidders on two new channels in an attempt to generate competition in the industry.

The country’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) described broadcaster Televisa as a “preponderant” player in the country’s TV market and said it would be forced to share its broadcasting infrastructure with competitors.

Televisa, along with Carlos Slim’s telecommunication firm America Movil, have been targeted as the country’s government seeks to encourage new entrants.

Televisa currently attracts around 70% of non-cable viewers, with TV Azteca its main competitor. In a statement, Televisa said regulators required it to make its broadcasting infrastructure “available to third parties on a non-discriminatory and non-exclusive basis.”

The firm also said it would be barred from acquiring exclusive rights to “programmes with unique characteristics that in the past have delivered large audiences on a national or regional basis”, such as Mexican football matches, the World Cup finals and the Olympic Games.

Bidding has also begun on two new nationwide TV channels, which could allow Slim, one of the world’s richest men, to enter the country’s broadcasting landscape despite facing increased regulation in the phone market in which he operates.

“We’re pleased that the IFT is proceeding with the tender of new TV stations. It’s an important event for competition and we hope the same applies to the telecommunications sector,” Televisa continued.

The broadcaster added that it would be reviewing the ruling and could yet take legal action over the changes.


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