Televisa rolls out digital platform


MEXICO CITY -- Mexican media giant Televisa has rolled out a digital content platform that will reach Internet users throughout Latin America as well as its cable TV subscribers in Mexico.

Among various Internet services, Mexico's No. 1 network is offering video-on-demand, which includes a wide array of TV programs, movies and exclusive content. Users also will be able to watch live transmissions of Televisa's four broadcast network channels on Esmas, the broadcaster's Web site.

The programming is available for a monthly fee or under a download-to-own scheme.

Songs and music videos can be downloaded on Tarabu, the media outfit's upstart online music store. The Tarabu catalog offers more than 450,000 songs. Currently, Tarabu receives between 500 to 1,000 downloads daily.

According to Televisa, its online sites attract more than 15 million Internet users a month. Juan Saldivar, chief executive of Televisa Internet division Esmas, said at a Wednesday news conference that the company has invested $2.5 million in new media services. He declined to specify how much the digital content will generate in additional revenues.

Analysts expect Televisa's new media business to fare particularly well if it can gain access to the U.S. Hispanic market, where it would benefit from higher Internet penetration rates and consumers' stronger purchasing power.

But Televisa is barred from selling content over the Internet in the U.S. due to a provision in its programming agreement with its stateside partner Univision. On Dec. 19, the Internet provision expires with Univision; however, it remains unclear if that will give Televisa the legal right to sell online content in the Latino market.

In addition to Internet services, Televisa-owned cable operator Cablevision is offering a new interactive video-on-demand platform featuring numerous television and film titles.