Mexico's telecommunications regulator has declared Grupo Televisa a dominant operator in broadcast television, according to the company, which said the move implies a series of "substantial and restrictive measures, terms, conditions and obligations."
The IFT in recent days has issued rulings and taken actions that affect the company "in many areas relating to its broadcasting and pay television businesses," Televisa, which has a nearly 70 percent market share in Mexico's broadcasting industry, said in a statement Friday.
Besides its move Thursday to declare Televisa a "preponderant economic agent" in Mexico's broadcast market, the regulator on Friday published an invitation to a public auction in which companies may bid to obtain frequencies to set up at least two national digital broadcasting networks in Mexico.
On Feb. 27, the IFT also issued "must-carry" and "must-offer" rules that will apply in the re-transmission of over-the-air broadcast signals by pay TV operators.
Televisa said it would "assess the extent and impact in each case on the results of operations, activities and businesses."
The company said its designation as a dominant operator 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 and any requesting broadcaster and must be publicly disclosed; if an agreement cannot be reached, the IFT may determine the applicable fees for the services.
Televisa also must execute the appropriate contract and give access to its infrastructure within 20 days of receiving a request for services from a competitor.
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."
Televisa will have to make its contract formats and the terms of sale for each service publicly available and is prohibited from conditioning or discriminating "with respect to the advertising spaces offered on its different platforms."
As a dominant operator, Televisa is required to provide the IFT any information it may request.
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.
The IFT was created last year as part of a telecommunications and broadcast media overhaul proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration and approved last year.
The 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 are expected to be declared dominant by the IFT. EFE