TV Azteca, S.A.B. de C.V. is a Mexican multimedia conglomerate owned by Grupo Salinas. It is the second-largest mass media company in Mexico after Televisa. It primarily competes with Televisa and Imagen Televisión, as well as some local operators. It owns two national television networks, Azteca Uno and Azteca 7, and operates two other nationally distributed services, adn40 and a+. All three of these networks have transmitters in most major and minor cities.
TV Azteca also operates Azteca Trece Internacional, reaching 13 countries in Central and South America, and part of the Azteca América network in the United States. Its flagship program is the newscast Hechos.
FormationIn the early 1990s, the presidency of Carlos Salinas de Gortari privatized many government assets. Among them was the Instituto Mexicano de la Televisión, known as Imevisión, which owned two national television networks and three local TV stations. In preparation for the privatization, the Imevisión stations were parceled into a variety of newly created companies, the largest of which was named Televisión Azteca, S.A. de C.V.
With the exception of Canal 22, which was spun off to Conaculta, one bidder won all of the stations. On July 18, 1993, Mexico's Finance Ministry, the Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, announced that Radio Televisora del Centro, a group controlled by Ricardo Salinas Pliego, was the winner of the auction to acquire the "state-owned media package", which also included Imevisión's studios in the Ajusco area of Mexico City. The winning bid amounted to US$645 million. The new group soon took on the Televisión Azteca name for the entire operation and soon challenged Televisa, turning what had been a television monopoly into a television duopoly. The two conglomerates held 97 percent of the commercial television concessions in the country.
ExpansionIn 1998, TV Azteca announced an investment of US$25 million in XHTVM-TV, which was owned by Javier Moreno Valle through concessionaire Televisora del Valle de México, S.A. de C.V. Under the deal, Azteca restructured TVM and took control of ad sales and most programming duties, while Moreno Valle's CNI news service retained some primetime space. However, in 2000, Moreno Valle broke the contract with Azteca, alleging Azteca of filling up time allotted to CNI and not fulfilling the obligations in the contract. In December 2002, Azteca used private security guards to retake control of the XHTVM facilities on Cerro del Chiquihuite in Mexico City. However, the Mexican government stepped into the dispute and forced Azteca to relinquish control of XHTVM. In 2005, an employee strike that crippled CNI, Moreno Valle's mounting legal troubles, and a deal with the 5% owner of the concessionaire allowed Azteca to buy the remainder of the station and retake control of XHTVM, under the name Proyecto 40, in 2006.
On March 7, 2011, TV Azteca changed its name to Azteca, reflecting its growth into a multimedia company. However, in July 2015, the TV Azteca name was restored.
TV Azteca is the second largest mass media company in México after Televisa. These two big organizations control the 97% of mass media in Mexico. TV Azteca was funded in 1993 by Ricardo Salinas Pliego. TV Azteca has 31% of the 465 television concessions in México. The auction of the state channels and the granting of further concessions to TV Azteca further strengthen their connection. It also owns Azteca banks, Azteca insurance, Iusacell, programing pay television, cinemas, live theater, news channels, newspapers, Azteca music, an acting school, Azteca consumer products, Azteca internet, Azteca series, Azteca sports, stadiums, etc. TV Azteca is another company which also serves the government however to a much lesser extent than Televisa. TV Azteca also receives lucrative contracts from the Mexican government, and therefore the information that emits is also controlled by the actual government. The news that is normally emitted by TV Azteca is 25% news bulletins that come from advertising, and infotainment relying on celebrities and biased editorials.
Terrestrial networksIn Mexico:
|Azteca 1||XHDF 1||general programming and news and first-run telenovelas|
|Azteca 7||XHIMT 7||general programming, sports, and series|
|adn40||XHTVM 26||news and informational shows|
|Azteca Guatemala||N/A||Guatemalan channel with programming from TV Azteca's three television national networks in Mexico and local news|
|Azteca Honduras||N/A||Honduran channel with programming from TV Azteca's three television national networks in Mexico and local news|
- Azteca América: U.S. channel with programming from TV Azteca's three television national networks in Mexico and local news
- KAZA-TV used to be the flagship of Azteca America from 2001-2018 but was sold to Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting, which stripped KAZA of its flagship status, and was replaced by MeTV as an O&O.
- Az Noticias
- Az Clic!
- Az Mundo
- Az Corazón
- Az Cinema
- Azteca Trece -1 hora
- Azteca Trece -2 horas
- Romanza+ África - African channel
Disputes and controversies
The Federal Radio and Television Law was a bill concerning the licensing and regulation of the electromagnetic spectrum. The LFRT was favorable to both TV Azteca and Televisa because it allowed them to renew their licenses without paying for them. According to The Economist, the Ley Federal de Radio y Televisión "raced through Congress confirming the country's longstanding television duopoly" and constituted a "giveaway of radio spectrum and a provision that allows broadcasting licenses to be renewed more or less automatically".
In February 2012, TV Azteca networks were dropped by Mexican cable-TV carriers representing more than 4 million subscribers in a carriage dispute over terms. Cable operators claimed that Azteca wanted to charge a fee by packaging its over-the-air stations with cable networks, such as news and soap opera channels, which potentially represented a higher cost to subscribers. After a nine-month absence, TV Azteca returned gradually to cable operators.
In August 2018, American Tower's Mexican Unit, MATC Infraestructura sued TV Azteca for $97 Million in a New York court for defaulting on a loan from the company.