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December 3, 2009

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Regulators in Mexico fine media company

MEXICAN anti-monopoly regulators said on Tuesday they slapped the country's largest media company, Grupo Televisa, with the biggest fine they have ever levied against a media company for denying a cable operator access to its television programming.

The Federal Competition Commission imposed a fine of 47.5 million pesos (US$3.7 million) against Grupo Televisa SA de CV, the world's top producer of Spanish-language television programming.

In a copy of the ruling, the commission said the amount was roughly equivalent to the damages Televisa caused to Michoacan-based Telecable Centro Occidente by refusing to allow it to transmit four of its open-television stations.

Grupo Televisa channels have a 68 percent share of the time cable customers spend watching open channels, which is about half total viewing time. The ruling said the cable operator lost subscribers because it couldn't show those channels.

It said the refusal "had the effect or intent to unfairly displace" the operator from the market.


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