Televisa Acts to Keep Channels From Dish Before Rules Set

Grupo Televisa SAB, the largest Spanish-language TV producer, is taking legal action to stop Dish Mexico from distributing its over-the-air channels, saying the satellite carrier isn’t following the rules.

Televisa filed a complaint with Mexico’s Interior Ministry and sought an injunction from a superior court in Mexico City to stop Dish’s action, according to a Televisa official. Televisa will also ask Mexico’s newly formed telecommunications regulator, known as Ifetel, to intervene, said the official, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

Dish Mexico, the nation’s second-largest satellite-TV company, started providing Televisa’s channels this week for no extra charge. A telecommunications law passed earlier this year created Ifetel and required broadcasters to offer their signals to all pay-TV carriers. Dish should have waited until Ifetel set specific rules to govern how satellite companies can use broadcast signals, the Televisa official said.

Televisa gained 2.1 percent to 72.55 pesos at the close in Mexico City. The shares have advanced 6.3 percent this year.

A Dish press official declined to comment on Mexico City-based Televisa’s legal actions. An Ifetel spokesman didn’t return a phone message. Dan McCosh, a spokesman for broadcaster TV Azteca SAB, didn’t immediately reply to questions about whether the company is also opposing Dish’s distribution of its channels.

Satellite Competition

Televisa and TV Azteca broadcast over the air for free to viewers with antennas on their TVs. In the past, they have charged cable and satellite providers to carry a package of their over-the-air channels plus additional cable channels -- such as 24-hour sports and movie networks -- with no option to select just the more popular broadcast stations.

Dish Mexico trails a Televisa unit, Sky, in Mexican satellite customers. The smaller competitor has a marketing partnership with America Movil SAB, which battles other Televisa divisions for phone and Internet users. Dish Mexico is co-owned by Mexico City-based MVS Comunicaciones SA and Englewood, Colorado-based EchoStar Corp.

Axtel SAB, Mexico’s second-largest phone company, also began retransmitting over-the-air channels yesterday, adding them to its pay-TV service, it said in a statement.

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