Azteca holds on to Mouse

Five-year deal extends relationship begun in 1998

MEXICO CITY — TV Azteca, Mexico’s second-largest net, has renewed a distribution deal with Buena Vista Intl. Television, giving it exclusive rights to Disney programming.

The five-year deal extends a relationship begun in 1998, and emphasizes the importance of children’s programming in Mexico, a demographically young nation where animated films routinely perform well at the box office and in ratings surveys.

The deal “gives us a big competitive advantage, since (Disney content) is one of the reasons why much of our audience is with us,” said Azteca director of channels Guillermo Alegret.

Azteca’s rival, Televisa, dedicates one of its four channels to children’s programming but does not carry Mouse content.

Azteca will have exclusive transmission rights to BVI skeins, cartoons, specials and movies including “Monsters, Inc.” and “Finding Nemo,” neither of which has aired on terrestrial television in Mexico, as well as pics from Touchstone, Miramax, Hollywood Pictures, Dimension and Patagonik.

Mario San Ramon, general director of TV Azteca, added that the deal allows for co-productions between Azteca and BVI.

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