By Juan Montes / Wall Street Journal
Mexico awarded Wednesday two new national broadcast networks to two lesser-known local media tycoons, in an effort to increase competition in a market dominated by the longstanding TV duopoly of Grupo Televisa and Azteca.
After a long auction process, the telecom regulator said the new TV networks will be licensed to Grupo Radio Centro, one of the country’s biggest radio broadcasters led by Francisco Aguirre, and Grupo Imagen of Olegario Vázquez, who also owns Mexican newspaper Excelsior, several radio stations and regional pay-TV channels.
“This has been an unprecedented process to increase competition and pluralism” in the Mexican TV market, the head of the telecom regulator Gabriel Contreras told reporters after announcing the winners.
The auction generated great expectations as it was the first time Mexico has auctioned licenses to operate new national TV networks. But the outcome disappointed many experts, as only two companies bid and the winners aren’t seen as strong competitors in the short term.