Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Rival to Rupert Murdock?

Not even Rupert Murdock can get a toe hold in the Mexican media markets, but the world's richest man might be about to. Will that have an effect on Mexican politics?

Carlos Slim closer to entering Mexico's television market
Carlos Slim's telecommunications empire, Telmex, is poised to get a new shot at realizing its long-held goal of entering Mexico's television market after a regulatory board this week approved rules that may allow the world's richest man to launch a for-pay TV channel.

Mexico's television market is almost completely dominated by the duopoly of media giant Televisa and TV Azteca, which together control about 95% of what viewers see and hear on the country's airwaves…

Under the government of former President Felipe Calderon, Slim's desires to compete with Televisa and TV Azteca were tied up in dense regulatory appeals and negotiations. Opening up the market was further hindered by Mexico's fractious Congress.

The new government of President Enrique Peña Nieto… has yet to roll out its telecommunications reform package. But Peña Nieto has already indicated that he hopes his government can open concessions for at least two new channels on Mexico's airwaves.

Peña Nieto said the issue is about increasing "competition" at all levels in Mexico.

Televisa's dominance of Mexico's airwaves became a campaign issue in the 2012 presidential election after the grass-roots student movement known as #YoSoy132 held large-scale demonstrations opposing candidate Peña Nieto and Televisa at large. Protesters decried his Institutional Revolutionary Party's cozy relationship with the network, claiming Televisa favored him over his rivals on the left and right.

Peña Nieto is married to a former Televisa telenovela actress. His party has a history of being allied with Televisa and its top tiers of executives and producers.

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