Discovery Buys Into Mega, Chile’s Top Free-to-Air TV Network

Global TV giant inks with Chilean holding Bethia the acquisition of a 27.5% stake in the channel

Discovery Communications Logo
Courtesy of Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications has inked a deal to acquire a 27.5% stake in Bethia Comunicaciones, the owner of Chile’s Mega TV, one of Latin America’s highest-flying broadcast networks.

The operation, expected to close in the next few days, would have a price of $40 million, per Chilean press reports, which would set Mega’s total value around $145 million.

Chile’s most watched TV channel for the last 23 months in a row, Mega has captured 30% of Chilean free-to-air TV advertising investment.

“The signing of this deal crowns the work we have been doing the last few years to promote Mega’s internationalization,” Carlos Heller, Bethia Group prexy, said in a statement.

Bethia, a powerful Chilean holding with interests in sectors such as agriculture, transports and wine, acquired Mega in 2012 from Claro Group, at a moment when the network was immersed in one of its deepest crises since its 1990 launch.

From 2013, under CEO Patricio Hernandez, the channel boosted its bet on international fiction, successfully programming in primetime Turkish telenovelas such as “One Thousand and One Nights” and “What is Fatmagul’s fault?”

Over the same period, Mega advanced in its creation of a TV fiction content factory, with standout results such as 2014’s TV series “Pituca sin Lucas” (“Fancy Girl Without Money”), which snagged the best audience performance for any drama in Chile in the last decade.

Fiction has now become the pillar of Mega’s international market plans, channeled through a long-term distribution deal inked in 2015 with NBCU’s Telemundo Internacional.

“The plan to become a producer of internationally relevant content is maintained and strengthened with this alliance,” Heller added.

“Discovery is a global company that is constantly evaluating opportunities to expand its presence around the world, particularly in Latin America, where TV consumption continues to grow,” said Enrique R. Martinez, prexy and general director of Discovery Networks Latin America, U.S. Hispanic and Canada.

“Chile is an important territory in Latin America, in which we are proud to increase our presence through this opportunity to collaborate with Mega TV’s great team,” Martinez added.

With its buy into Bethia Comunicaciones’ shareholding, Discovery becomes the second international TV company currently operating in Chile’s free-to-air TV market after Turner Broadcasting System, owner of the Chilevision network since 2010.