Poll Reveals Mexicans Favor New TV Channel

A recent questionnaire shows that Mexicans want to see a third player crack the highly concentrated broadcast TV market.

MEXICO CITY -- People here are getting fed up with Mexico's television duopoly, according to a recent survey.

The big question, though, is whether regulators can actually doing anything about it.

Telecom and television watchdog Cofetel conducted a public poll asking, among other questions, if Mexico's over-the-air TV offering is sufficient. About 90 percent of the participants said no. The proposal on the table is a new digital channel with national coverage that presumably would go head to head with Televisa and TV Azteca, which together control an estimated 95 percent of the broadcast TV market share.

The questionnaire also revealed that about 87 percent of those polled believe there are enough pesos to go around for a third player in the TV ad market, despite claims to the contrary by the two networks.

Does the response in favor of more competition mean that Mexican audiences will be getting a third channel anytime soon? Industry observers say it's unlikely, especially during an election year when the national networks hold the power to shape public opinion.

Irene Levy, president of the telecom and broadcasting civil organization Observatel, believes that nobody wants to take on the broadcasters and special interest groups leading up to the July general election.

"[The concession] won't happen before the elections," she said.

So it appears that regulators will just have to wait.

Cofetel didn't reply to a request seeking comment.