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Mexico court denies Televisa bid for injunction against dominant-player tag
[August 30, 2014]

Mexico court denies Televisa bid for injunction against dominant-player tag

(EFE Ingles Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Mexico City, Aug 30 (EFE).- A court has denied a request for an injunction filed by one of Mexican conglomerate Grupo Televisa's content units against a regulator's decision to declare it dominant in the broadcast TV sector, the top administrative body of Mexico's judiciary said.

A specialized court in the area of economic competition, broadcasting and telecommunications "denied the protection of the federal judiciary" for Televisa, S.A. de C.V., a subsidiary of Grupo Televisa S.A.B. in the content segment, the CJF said in a statement.

Content is the biggest business for Grupo Televisa, a conglomerate that also has subsidiaries in the publishing, satellite pay TV, and cable and telecom sectors, among others.

The company was seeking to nullify the decision by Mexico's telecommunications regulator, known as the IFT, to declare it a "preponderant economic agent," arguing that the regulator had not "independently notified it of the start of this process." The court, however, ruled that "there were no grounds for independently notifying" Televisa S.A. de C.V. of the start of the administrative procedure since it is a part of a larger conglomerate - Grupo Televisa - that was notified.

In early March, the IFT, created as part of a telecommunications and broadcast media overhaul proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration and approved last year, declared Televisa a "preponderant economic agent" in Mexico's broadcast market.

Televisa has a nearly 70 percent share of the Mexican broadcast industry, while the Mexican constitution states that a company is preponderant when its market share exceeds 50 percent.

The company said on March 6 that its designation as a dominant operator implied a series of "substantial and restrictive measures, terms, conditions and obligations." It said the dominant-player tag means it must "make its broadcasting infrastructure available to third parties on a non-discriminatory and non-exclusive basis." The fees are to be negotiated by Televisa with any requesting broadcaster and must be publicly disclosed; if an agreement cannot be reached, the IFT may determine the applicable fees for the services.

The company also may not acquire exclusive transmission rights in Mexico with respect to certain "relevant content," or that which has delivered high audiences in the past on a national or regional basis.

Such content includes professional soccer-league playoffs, Mexican national soccer team matches, FIFA World Cup finals and Olympic Games.

With respect to advertising sales, Televisa must "provide to IFT and publish the terms and conditions of its broadcast advertising services and fee structures, including commercials, packages, discount plans and any other commercial practice." Last year's telecommunications overhaul established, among other things, that dominant operators in any sector would be subject to asymmetric regulation to avoid market distortion.

In the telecommunications sector, two units of Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos Slim's America Movil - Telcel and Telmex - have outsized market shares in Mexico's wireless and fixed-line markets, respectively, and also were declared dominant by the IFT.

America Movil said this summer it is prepared to divest assets to bring its share of Mexico's telecommunications market below 50 percent. EFE pmc/mc (c) 2014 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.

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