Televisa loses ‘dominant’ argument

Mexican broadcaster and media giant Grupo Televisa has lost its 18-point series of appeals against an earlier decision that it held a dominant position in Mexican media.

Back in March the Mexican Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) ruled that Televisa was in breach of the 50 per cent market share threshold, and needed to curb its market power. At the time Televisa said its business faced an impact from new rules requiring it to offer its broadcast channels without charge to pay television systems, and by the government’s plan to tender concessions for two new digital broadcast networks from which Televisa will be excluded.

Televisa then mounted a detailed appeal including 18 injunctions against IFT. The cases have been progressing through the 2 District Court for Administrative Matters, and on September 19th the Court ruled that Televisa was a dominant player in Mexico, and dismissed all the injunctions.

September 19th also saw the departure of one of Televisa’s board directors, German Larrea, in order to launch his own bid for new digital terrestrial TV licences.

With the legal challenge out of the way the same day also saw the IFT open an investigation into Televisa’s dominant position, saying that the broadcaster had a 64.3 per cent of the Mexican TV market. The decision is almost certainly going to lead to fresh legislation.   The current position is that Televisa along with Sky hold 39 per cent in satellite transmission services, while their related cable operators (Bestel, Cablemas, Cablevision, and TVI) have 25.3 per cent. The remaining market share is claimed by Megacable with 14.8 per cent; Dish with 11 per cent; and Telecable and other regional cable TV companies having 2.3 per cent.

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