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Mexico: Television
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > Transportation and Communications > Television


Introduced in 1950, television reached some 70 percent of the Mexican population by the early 1990s. In 1995 Mexico had 326 television stations (almost 25 percent of all stations in Latin America), most of them owned by or affiliated with the Mexican Telesystem (Telesistema Mexicano -- known popularly as Televisa) and the state-run Mexican Institute of Television (Instituto Mexicano de Televisión -- Imevisión). In 1996 Mexico had about 800 television transmitters and an average of one television set per 8.9 viewers.

In the early 1990s, Televisa was reportedly the largest communications conglomerate in the developing world. Although a private corporation, Televisa is very close to the ruling PRI. It operates three commercial television networks in Mexico and four stations in the United States. Its main network broadcasts twenty-four hours a day, and the others broadcast between twelve and eighteen hours daily. Televisa's flagship news program is "24 Horas," which has long been the most important source of news for many Mexicans. Televisa exports 20,000 hours of television programming to other Latin American countries. In addition to television and radio, Televisa has interests in newspaper and book publishing; production of records and home videos; motion picture distribution, advertising and marketing; and real estate, tourism, and hotels.

The state-run Imevisión operates two national television networks, as well as several regional and specialized channels. The government also operates Mexican Republic Television (Televisión de la República Mexicana), which broadcasts news and educational and cultural programs to rural areas, and Cultural Television of Mexico (Televisión Cultural de México). A competing network, Televisión Independiente, operates seven stations. There are also some twenty independent stations.

In November 1993, the government granted licenses for sixty-two new local television stations, increasing Televisa's total number of stations from 229 to 291. Most of the new stations are concentrated in northern Mexico. Televisa showed considerable financial strength in 1993, with third-quarter profits of some US$120 million, up 43 percent from the same period of 1992. The company planned additional large investments in an effort to maintain its 90 percent share of Mexico's television market. Televisa's main competitor is Televisión Azteca, which owns 179 stations in two national networks. Although it commanded less than 10 percent of the national television market in 1993, it is attempting to increase its market share to 24 percent by 2000.

Last Updated: June 1996

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Mexico was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 131 of 213


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