Saturday, July 7, 2012

Television in Mexico

Channelling public anger

The president-elect must show that he is not a stooge of Televisa

MORE Mexican homes have television than running water. The influence of the box is greatest at election time: surveys show that, when deciding how to vote, people trust newscasters more than their friends. After the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) won the presidential election on July 1st, protesters gathered outside the offices of Televisa, the dominant broadcaster, which they claimed had “imposed” Enrique Peña Nieto, the PRI's candidate, on a hypnotised public.
Before the election, newspapers claimed that the PRI had bribed Televisa to give rosier coverage (which both party and broadcaster deny). Televisa no longer styles itself a “soldier of the PRI” as it did during one-party rule. But whereas politics has become more plural since the 1990s, control of the airwaves has not. National free-to-air television is split between Televisa, with 70% of viewers, and TV Azteca. Televisa also has 45% of cable and 60% of satellite customers. The result is pricey as well as monotonous: regulators reckon that a third more households could afford pay-TV if there were more competition.
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