MOM Mexico analyzes eight television channels of which four belong to Grupo Televisa and Grupo Salinas. Two of these four are the main channels. Las Estrellas and Azteca Uno with mainly informational and entertainment content, and the other two FOROtv and adn40 produce news programs exclusively. The fifth channel that is analyzed is Imagen TV - a news channel belonging to Grupo Imagen. Two additional channels considered in this project belong to Grupo Multimedios: the pay-TV channel Milenio TV, which was the first one in the country to exclusively broadcast news and Canal 12, a local channel in the north of the country existing since the 1970s. Finally, this analysis includes Canal Once, one of the six state-owned channels in the country and the one with the biggest audience share from those six.
In 2018, only six open-TV channels cover more than 60% of the Mexican territory: two of them belong to Televisa (Las Estrellas and Canal 5) and the other four belong to TV Azteca (Azteca 7, Azteca Uno, adn40 and a+). According to Digital News Report 2017 from the Reuters Institute, television is the most influential media in Mexico since it provides access to news for 65% of the population.
Consumption Patterns and Ownership Concentration
Canal 2 (today called Las Estrellas) is the channel that in 1951 transmitted the first signal in the country. Four years later, the owners of the only three commercial channels, that obtained their concessions by presidential decree, merged and created Telesistema Mexicano S.A., the predecessor of Televisión Vía Satélite S.A. (Televisa).
According to OECD’s Evaluation of the telecommunications and broadcasting markets from August 2017, Canal 2 has been the most popular channel in the country for six decades. The most watched TV channels in Mexico are Las Estrellas and Azteca Uno (previously called Azteca Trece), as pointed out by the Federal Institute for Telecommunications and according to the results from the National Survey for Audiovisual Content Consumption 2017.
The founder of Televisa, Emilio Azcárraga Milmo, defined himself in 1982 as “PRI member by conviction” and Televisa as the “President’s soldier”. The political party PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) came to power five decades before this declaration and stayed in power three decades after, except for the period between 2000 and 2012, and the current one, from 2018 until 2024.
Between 2013 and 2016, 35% of the budget for government publicity was spent on television, more than any other communications media. Grupo Televisa and TV Azteca alone received around 27% of these resources (17% and 10% respectively), as revealed in a report by Fundar, Center for Analysis and Investigation.
Since the 2014 Constitutional reform on telecommunications, which among its objectives includes the introduction of new actors in the telecommunications and broadcasting markets, the signals of Televisa and TV Azteca have increased in number and coverage through the multiplexed digital channels (combination of two or more channels in one transmission).
In 2015, the third national TV network Imagen TV was created. The investment in government publicity in this new network tripled between 2016 and 2017. In 2017, for the first time concessions were also offered for local and regional free-to-air TV channels. Out of the 13 winners, four are new actors in this sector, as pointed out by the Federal Institute for Telecommunications. The main winner from the last public tender for TV channels, however, was Grupo Multimedios (owner of the popular Milenio TV, Milenio Diario and milenio.com, among others).
Seven decades after the transmission of the first commercial TV signal in the country, four conglomerates control the market. Besides their involvement in the media sector they have diverse business interests: Grupo Televisa with business activities in casinos, lottery and online gaming, as well as the production of big live events; Grupo Salinas, with main business activities in the retail and financial services sector; Grupo Multimedios is also being active in the construction and development of commercial premises; and Grupo Angeles, whose most profitable business are the hospital chains.
After a decade of being almost the only players in this market sector, Televisa and TV Azteca are now facing the challenge of competing with new actors.
Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (2017). Diario Oficial de la Federación. Accessed on 19 February 2019.
Reuters Institute (2017). Digital News Report: Mexico. Accessed on 19 February 2019.
OCDE (2017). Estudio de la OCDE sobre telecomunicaciones y radiodifusión en México 2017. Accessed on 19 February 2019.
Revista Proceso (1982). Azcárraga se declara priista y soldado del presidente. Accessed on 19 February 2019.
Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (2018). Encuesta Nacional de Consumo de Contenidos Audiovisuales 2017. Accessed on 19 February 2019.