Televisa online content hits speed bump

Mexican media conglom cautious about U.S. launch

MEXICO CITY — Mexican media conglom Televisa Wednesday launched its online content platform, but the company is unsure when it will be able to fully exploit the business Stateside.

Televisa had previously blustered that it could start selling in the U.S. by late December, but with a court ruling still pending, the web is becoming more cautious.

“We will do it as soon as we can,” said Juan Saldivar, CEO of Televisa’s Web site esmas.com, at a presentation of the company’s new media strategy. Company will start selling music online in the States come January, he said.

Televisa’s online platform is available throughout Latin America after years of preparation and the digitization of hundreds of thousands of hours from its catalog of telenovelas, comedies and films.

Through esmas.com’s own media player, Web users can watch streaming TV from the Televisa’s four national channels, including content up to 14 days old, for a monthly or annual fee, or pay to download individual shows, movies or music. Both shows and songs are going for a little over $1.

Televisa’s cabler Cablevision, which operates in the lucrative Mexico City market, is also offering video-on-demand services and will offer phone services by February, said Cablevision CEO Jean Paul Broc. Mexico is implementing regulations to allow for cablers and telcos to offer triple play services of video, voice and data.

Saldivar said Televisa was still negotiating deals to offer third-party content with 25 companies.

With longstanding distribution deals throughout Latin America and a solid position as leader in the Mexican market, Televisa is looking to new businesses and expansion in the U.S. to boost its growth.

Televisa filed suit in July before Los Angeles Superior Court to allow it to distribute online content to U.S. auds without having to split the revenue with estranged partner Univision.

Company was unsuccessful in its bid for Univision, the top U.S. Hispanic broadcaster, when it was on the block earlier this year.

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