TV Azteca has problems with Mexico's cable industry

Ińaki Ferreras ©RapidTVNews | 15-02-2012

Mexico's national private network TV Azteca is reportedly in a dispute over terms with the nation's cable operators.
The broadcaster's networks are being dropped by Mexican cable-TV carriers representing more than 4 million subscribers. For instance Megacable Holdings SAB, the nation’s largest cable company, has already cut the channels and in addition, Cablemas SA and TVI, both controlled by Grupo Televisa SAB, were said to be on the verge of doing likewise.The principal reason cited for the companies are pulling Azteca’s channels was the fact that it is now charging for content that used to be available free, Ana Maria Solorzano, legal director for Cablecom, a Mexico City-based carrier that also dropped the channels, said to the Bloomberg financial news outlet.
Azteca wants to charge a fee by packaging its over-the-air stations with cable networks, such as news and soap opera channels, she said. Telecable was dropping Azteca for the same reasons.
Yet Azteca airs the football games of Mexican teams such as Cruz Azul and Monarcas Morelia and attracts about 30% of the nation’s broadcast audience, behind Televisa’s 70%.
Even on cable networks, where they have to compete against international programming, Televisa and Azteca gain a significant part of the audience, Mexico’s antitrust commission concluded in a ruling last month.
Megacable has 1.9 million TV subscribers and covers Mexico’s second-largest city, Guadalajara. Cablecom and Hevi combined have about 1.1 million subscribers. Cablemas and TVI have together 1.4 million clients. Also Empresas Cablevision SAB, a separate cable unit of Televisa covering the Mexico City area, has continued to carry Azteca's channels as Sky, Televisa's satellite-TV subsidiary.
These companies negotiate directly with TV Azteca, while the other ones hold their contract through a separate company called productora y comercializadora de televisión.