Mexico puts conditions on Televisa

Antitrust commission puts forth new rules

Mexican media titan Televisa must offer its popular broadcast channels to competitors if it wants to take a stake in cable company TVI, Mexico’s antitrust commission said Sunday.

Net would also have to agree to air broadcast channels of its only major competition, TV Azteca, the agency said, as well as any other free channels that may arise.

Last October, the Federal Competition Commission (Cofeco) halted Televisa’s attempt to buy a stake in TVI, a cable operator in the northern city of Monterrey.

Televisa is seeking to expand cable operations as the nation implements triple-play regs that allow companies to offer packages of Internet, video and voice.

Last week, the web announced it was also seeking approval from Cofeco to take a 49% stake in the nation’s second-largest cable operator, Cablemas.

Televisa already operates Mexico City’s only cabler, Cablevision, and the nation’s only satcaster, Sky Mexico.

Mexico’s cable industry is expected to see a wave of consolidations as triple-play platforms are unrolled and Mexico’s dominant telco, Telmex, is allowed to offer pay TV later this year.

Competitors would be crippled without access to Televisa’s broadcast content. Televisa’s flagship Canal 2, which runs its lineup of telenovelas, is the highest-rated channel among the nation’s cable operators.

Meanwhile, NBC Universal-owned Telemundo is gunning to win a broadcasting license in Mexico, where its Spanish-language content is largely unavailable.

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