You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Televisa, Carlos Slim May Benefit From Mexico’s Telco Reform Bill

The world’s largest producer of Spanish-language TV content, Televisa, appears to have caught a couple of breaks with the telco reform bill Mexico’s Congress sent to President Enrique Pena Nieto on Wednesday. The bill limits the sanctioning power of the sector’s watchdog agency and sets rules for determining market dominance that could potentially help the massive conglom sidestep burdensome new regulations.

But the other major telco market player, America Movil, the mobile and fixed-line telephony giant run by billionaire Carlos Slim, came out before the final bill even passed the lower house Wednesday morning to say it would be willing to sell off a large portion of its empire to avoid the regulations aimed at companies designated dominant in their sector.

Winning the lion’s share of Mexico’s $32 billion-a-year telecom industry, America Movil controls about 80% of fixed-line market and 70% of the mobile market, while Televisa controls about 70% of the terrestrial broadcast share. Both were determined to be dominant players by the newly created telco reg IFT in March, opening the door to measures like forcing them to share infrastructure at inexpensive rates with competitors and even splitting them up.

Two of the most contentious provisions passed today include a determination of market dominance by sector (TV and telephony) versus by service (pay TV, ISP, over-the-air TV, etc.), which makes it potentially easier for Televisa and America Movil to restructure and sell off enough assets to avoid the heaviest regulations.

Critics are particularly concerned by Televisa’s perceived growing dominance in pay TV, saying the new laws do not do enough to ensure competition in that arena.

The other restricts the power to sanction or prosecute companies to the Interior Secretary, instead of allowing the IFT order action on its own – seen by critics as a win for the nation’s largest media outlets, which also includes No. 2 broadcaster Azteca.

The so-called “secondary legislation” maintains a number of features to the landmark telecommunications reform passed one year ago that are bound to have a long-lasting impact on TV and Internet media in Mexico.

That reform mandates the auction of two new free-to-air and nationwide broadcasters – the first major announcement of bids for those should come this fall. Unfortunately, for foreign media groups, the bidding is limited to companies with 49% of foreign ownership or less, a late edition to last year’s reform that today’s bill cemented.

Televisa has already begun to show major gains in its own bottom line with the introduction of the must-carry, must-offer rules introduced in last year’s reform. The net reported this week a 21% annual jump in profit in the second quarter thanks to the unfettered access to competitors’ feevees in addition to booming growth in its own feevees and telephony thanks to triple-play (TV, phone, Internet) packages.

The bill passed today includes a number of proposals meant to increase Internet penetration in Mexico, including promises like free Wi-Fi in some 250,000 parks and public spaces nationwide, but the timeframe, implementation and quality of the connections all raise questions on how such pie-in-the-sky promises will actually be put into place.

More TV

  • Series Mania: Q & A with

    Series Mania: ‘Hierro’ as ‘Southern Noir’ and an Industry Groundbreaker

    LILLE, France —  Banijay Rights-sold “Hierro” begins with sea, land, air and fire: Shots of the stunning volcanic isle of El Hierro, the most westerly point of Spain’s Canary Islands, with its black basalt rock, brown iron-rich gravel, white waves pummeling the coast, trees trunks twisted by wind and lava, a juniper bent double by [...]

  • Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy

    Shekhar Kapur to Direct 'Ibis' Trilogy for Endemol Shine (EXCLUSIVE)

    Acclaimed Indian director, Shekhar Kapur is to direct a TV series for Endemol Shine based on historical novels by Amitav Ghosh, known as the “Ibis Trilogy.” The deal was announced at Series Mania in Lille. The books “Sea of Poppies,” “River of Smoke,” and “Flood of Fire,” are set in mid-19th century Asia. They interweave [...]

  • ‘Lambs Of God’ To World Premiere

    Lingo Pictures, Endemol Shine’s ‘Lambs of God’ Set for Series Mania World Premiere

    LILLE, France — Lingo Pictures Productions and Endemol Shine’s new Australian limited series “Lambs of God,” based on the Australian novel of the same name by Marele Day, world premieres on Wednesday, March 27 in the main International Competition at this year’s Series Mania festival. The series follows three devout nuns, the last sisters of [...]

  • Bruno DEBRANDT (Florent) et Julie GAYET

    Federation Acquires Intl. Sales Rights on Series Mania French Competition Player ‘Torn’

    LILLE, France — Leading French independent production-finance-distribution sales company Federation Entertainment has secured international sales rights on upcoming French psychological thriller “Torn.” The series was created and written by director Lionel Bailliu (“Innocente”)and Yann Le Gal (“Léo Mattéï, Brigade des Mineurs”) and world premieres in the official French competition on March 25 at France’s Series [...]

  • About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands

    About Premium Content Expands Scope, Rebrands as APC Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

    As it celebrates its fifth anniversary, the rising Paris-based TV production and distribution company About Premium Content is rebranding as APC Studios to reflect the expanded scope of its activities. APC Studios, which launched as a sales company in 2014, is now a producer, financier and distributor of upscale projects ranging from scripted to factual [...]

  • Win Rosenfeld, Jordan Peele and Simon

    'Star Trek: Discovery,' 'Twilight Zone' Bring Energy, Emotion to PaleyFest

    Both the CBS All Access shows “Star Trek: Discovery” and the upcoming “Twilight Zone” reboot held PaleyFest panels on Sunday, with both sets of cast and creators bringing energy, humor, and emotion to the stage. Both panels were moderated by Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway. First up was “Discovery,” where series star Doug [...]

  • Marvel's Runaways Review

    'Marvel's Runaways' Renewed for Third Season at Hulu

    Hulu has renewed “Marvel’s Runaways” for a third season. Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Runaways” stars Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, and Allegra Acosta as the Runaways, six teenagers from different backgrounds who unite against their parents, the Pride, portrayed by Angel Parker, Ryan Sands, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, Ever Carradine, James Marsters, Brigid Brannagh, Kevin Weisman, Brittany Ishibashi, and James Yaegashi. The new order is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content