MEXICO CITY — Televisa, the world’s largest provider of Spanish-language content, is pumping an extra $69 million into Spanish free-to-air broadcaster La Sexta to keep the tyro web operating.
The figure reflects the Mexican TV giant’s 40% stake in the firm and Spanish partners’ decision to ask for a $174 million investor infusion next year, starting with $13.4 million in January.
With this, Televisa will have put $354.2 million into La Sexta over five years ending 2009.
La Sexta, which bowed in 2005, is one of two newcomers to the Spanish market. The web scored a major coup by winning broadcast rights to the 2006 World Cup soccer tourney, sharing them with fellow new-kid-on-the-block Cuatro, owned by Spanish conglom Sogecable.
But La Sexta has failed to reach its profit targets and is mired in the war over European Champion’s League soccer and other feevee soccer that Mediapro, another of its key investors, is waging with Sogecable, which owns cablers Canal Plus and Digital Plus.
Televisa’s ties to La Sexta are part of the web’s wider plans for Europe as one of its key spheres of influence. It has also made significant moves this year in China and Brazil.