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Yesterday, January 31, the final closing of the merger agreed upon by Televisa and Univision was announced, after having obtained the approval of the regulatory authorities, both the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) and the Federal Economic Competition Commission, in the case of Mexico, as of the FCC in the United States. This is an operation that was announced in April last year, through which these two companies will combine their assets related to the production and distribution of content.

From the statement distributed to investors and the media, and some interviews with its directors to Reuters and Bloomberg, for example, a clear commitment to the new ecosystem of distribution of audiovisual content at a global level, through a new streaming platform with a focus on clearly aimed at the universe of 600 million people who speak Spanish as their mother tongue globally. For this purpose, the content assets, intellectual property and human capital made up of the talent of writers, screenwriters, producers, directors, technicians, and of course, actresses and actors, brought together under the experience and reputation of Televisa, will be a contribution essential for the launch of the new digital platform and the many premieres planned for it.

The challenge is not minor, especially when giants such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney + and HBOMax have redoubled their efforts not only globally, but specifically have begun to see the Spanish-speaking market as one with enormous potential. . These are groups that are committing billions of dollars annually in the production of original content and in the purchase of rights to content produced by third parties, but distributed in a wide range of languages ​​​​such as English, French, Italian, Korean, Japanese and Spanish, of course, but that with the consolidation of TelevisaUnivision as a player that already anticipates a notable increase in investment for the production of new content in Spanish, the audience will benefit not only because the possibilities of choice are increased, but because the possibility will also be opened to options that will not require the periodic payment of a subscription. In short, users will win.

On the other hand, derived from this transaction, Televisa received 4,800 million dollars, 3,000 of them in liquid form, an amount that will undoubtedly allow it to improve in various financial indicators, in addition to being a factor that will give even greater solidity to the strategy of investment of Grupo Televisa in the telecommunications sector.

In this way, Televisa’s commitment, through its Cable segment, in which iZZi and Bestel participate, among others, will be strengthened to continue with its growth strategy based on an investment effort that in the last eight years has has meant investing an average of 32% of their income, which represents a little more than double the investment effort of all telecommunications service operators in our country, which in the same period of time, in aggregate form, they have invested 15% of the total income of the sector.

This investment performance alone allows explaining the sustained growth in users that this segment has had since 2013, the year in which the constitutional reform on telecommunications and broadcasting was enacted. The strong investments made by Televisa allowed it to triple its revenue-generating units (RGUs) between the end of 2013 and the third quarter of the previous year, going from a total of 5.07 million RGUs to a total of 14.37 million.

Thus, Televisa and Univision show their determination to become a global player in the market for the distribution of audiovisual content in Spanish via streaming, while Televisa focuses more strongly on continuing to invest in telecommunications infrastructure to offer broadband, content distribution audiovisuals through pay TV and thereby attract a much greater number of subscribers.

*The author is an economist.


Gerardo Flores Ramirez

telecommunications expert

Economic Momentum

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