Televisa, Mexican Cable Companies Seek Third TV Network

Mexico’s cable industry called for the creation of a third television network, a sign that the nation’s dominant broadcaster, Grupo Televisa SAB, is growing more comfortable with the idea of new competition.

National Cable Telecommunications Chamber President Alejandro Puente, speaking at the industry’s annual gathering, called on Mexican President Felipe Calderon to auction airwaves to create a new broadcast network. Mexico City-based Televisa is a member of the chamber and owns three of Mexico’s largest cable-TV carriers.

“We propose that President Calderon support the tender of a third national channel of broadcast television, which surely would provide fresh air for our public life and would allow the opening of greater means of freedom of expression for citizens,” Puente said yesterday in Acapulco, Mexico.

The pronouncement by the chamber, known as Canitec, follows an opinion column in March by Televisa Chairman Emilio Azcarraga, who said his company wouldn’t oppose the creation of multiple new TV networks.

Azcarraga, who attended yesterday’s event, posted a message on his Twitter account today, saying he is “in agreement” with Canitec’s call for a new broadcast network. “Yes to the third TV network,” he wrote.

Televisa commands about 70 percent of Mexico’s broadcast audience, with almost all of the rest belonging to TV Azteca SAB. Dan McCosh, a spokesman for the smaller network, declined to comment.

Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Commission is studying plans for an auction of airwaves suitable for TV broadcasting after failing to agree on a plan in January.

Televisa shares were little changed at 54.6 pesos today in Mexico City. Azteca rose 1.4 percent to 8.65 pesos.

To contact the reporter on this story: Crayton Harrison in Mexico City at tharrison5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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