Mexican pay TV OKs regs

Commercial airtime regulations addressed

MIAMI — Based on a preliminary reading, pan-regional pay TV programmers have given the thumbs-up to new Mexican TV regs.

The Communications Secretariat released the long-delayed rules on Feb. 29.

The Television Assn. of Programmers Latin America (TAP) had been lobbying the Mexican government regarding its areas of concern, most of which appear to have been addressed, said TAP president Mary Pittelli.

In a key development, the Mexican government did not mandate a split on commercial airtime between programmers and operators. Channels and operators remain free to determine those arrangements on the basis of individual contracts.

The maximum amount of commercial airtime on pay TV is set at six minutes per hour. While the programmers would like to see parity with free TV, where broadcasters have 12 minutes per hour, TAP said it was satisfied with the limit.

Meanwhile, each 15 minutes of infomercial programming may be counted as just one minute of commercial time, allowing the sale of additional ad minutes during such programming.

The Mexican government also ruled that contests or sweepstakes from channels whose signals originate outside the country are exempt from certain paperwork.

“The operators and the programmers can now face to the task of how to build out the ad market,” Pittelli said. To that end, TAP will host a seminar on multichannel advertising in Mexico City on April 4.

(Simeon Tegel in Mexico City contributed to this report.)

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