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Mexico Stands Up to Its Globo | Conversa Afiada


I am not a big fan of the noisy Conversa Afiada –brainchild of TV Record reporter PHA — but I thank it for tipping me off to an important story from Mexico, as reported by the indomitable Carmen Aristegui, ex-CNN Español.

Regulatory agencies are attempting to rein in Televisa and its 75% lock on the Mexican broadcast media market.

Let me present an excerpt from the more technical treatment of the historic trust-busting, rule-changing decrees and resolutions, followed by an analysis by PHA, among whose virtues is an understanding of the parallels between Brazilian Globo and Mexican Televisa — both of them attempted stealers of elections — and of the activities of the Mexican magnate Carlos Slim in Brazil.

Televisa is a “dominant economic agent,” rules Ifetel

“The resolution announced yesterday by the Federal Institue of Telecommunications (IFT) imposes various and significant measures, conditions and restrictions on the broadcasting business of the Televisa Group,” the company recognizes.

IFTel declared Televisa a dominant economic agent in the broadcasting market and will subject it to a series of regulatory measures.

The empire of Emilio Azcárraga Jean will be obliged to share infrastructure, turn over to IFTel the terms and conditions of its advertising broadcasts and will not be allowed to acquire exclusive transmission rights in Mexico.

The company acknowledged that “all of these resolutions and actions of the IFT affect the Televisa Group in many areas related to its broadcasting and pay TV businesses, and we will evaluate the scope and impact in a case by case manner, in terms of its operating results, activities and businesses.

And the company warned: “As a result of the size of the declaration of dominance, with its 650 pages and of the complexity of these resolutions and proclamations, we will closely analyze any measure (of a legal, commercial or other nature) that Televisa must take in implementing them.”

Categorizing Televisa as a dominant economic actor in the telecommunications sector imposes the following conditions on its businesses:

Sharing of Infrastructure: Grupo Televisa will be required to place its broadcasting infrastructure at the disposition of third parties in a non-discriminatory, non-exclusive manner, with the exception of broadcasters broadcasters that have 12 MHz or more of broadcast spectrum in the affected region. This infrastructure includes, among other things, non-electronic components of the transmitters, right of way, towers, masts, energy sources and air conditioning systems. This measure aims to expedite the entry of new broadcasters into the market.

Grupo Televisa will have to submit to IFT a proposed public offering that includes the applicable conditions for the sharing of infrastructure. This proposal must include detailed information about the infrastructure of the Televisa group: location, technical specifications and security measures, among other things.

Rates will be negotiated by the Televisa Group and any interested party, and these rates will be made public.

Advertising Sales: Televisa Group must deliver to the IFT and make public the term and conditions of its advertising broadcasting and the structure of the relevant fees, including commercials and packages, discount plans and any other commercial practice. The resolution orders Televisa to publicize the format of its contracts and the terms of sale for each service. Televisa has expressly forbidden practices that imply negative treatment.  In addition,  Televisa will not be allowed to discriminate with respect to advertising spaces offered on its different platforms. In the case of publicity packages, Televisa will also have to offer them in a disintegrated fashion.

Prohibition on acquiring certain exclusive content: Televisa cannot acquire exclusive broadcast rights in any part of Mexico with respect to a certain  type of content to be determined by the IFT from time to time. Relevant contact is defined as programs with unique characteristics that once generated high levels of audience on a national and regional basis, such as league play in the national football tournament, the finals of the FIFA championships, the sporting events of the winter and summer, the opening and closing ceremonies of these events, and the playoffs of the Mexican baseball league of the Pacific.

[…] There are a couple of points to the plan that I need to work through before translating them.

Restriction on Ownership, Management and Board Memberships. Televisa is barred from participating, directly or indirectly, in the social capital of any company in order to influence in any way the management and control of the dominant actor in the telecommunications sector, or to possess commercial paper or other instruments that allows this possibility.

Televisa board members will be prevented from participating in the boards of directors and management or participate in the decision-making processes of said companies in any other way.