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Televisa strengthens hand with Telemundo deal

Spanish-language TV powerhouse Televisa and NBC-owned US Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo have agreed a wide-ranging programming deal. More than a 1,000 hours of Telemundo programming will air on Televisa’s free-to-air Mexican channel Channel 9 starting next month.

Televisa will also distribute a new Telemundo pay TV channel in Mexico. The entertainment and news channel will roll out later this year and be carried on the Sky satellite platform and Cablevision cable system, which Televisa part-own. The agreement is expected to widen to cover the distribution of Telemundo content over mobile, VOD and the Internet.

Telemundo produces a lot of its programming in-house, largely because its bigger rival Univision has an exclusive and long-running output deal with Televisa. The Mexican company is trying to extricate itself from that deal and is currently locked in a legal battle with private equity-owned Univision.

The deal is also being seen as a move to head off NBC’s move to establish a third national broadcaster in Mexico.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley noted: "By establishing an alliance with Telemundo, Televisa has managed to strengthen its strategic position and is taking a step in the right direction towards a more favorable arrangement for distributing its content in the US. In addition, it has reduced the probability of the creation of a third national broadcaster in Mexico."