TV Azteca buys into Guatemalan TV market


MEXICO CITY -- TV Azteca said Tuesday that it has taken a 70% stake in Guatemalan broadcaster Latitud TV under a deal that will allow the Mexican network to air its programming on broadcast and cable TV in the Central American nation.

TV Azteca declined to disclose financial details.

The Mexico City-based broadcaster will transmit its content on Latitud TV's UHF channels 31 and 35, giving TV Azteca coverage in Guatemala City through broadcast television and nationwide on cable TV.

Beginning in May, TV Azteca expects to operate and program the two channels. Additionally, the Mexican media company plans to sell Latitud TV's advertising. The broadcast television ad market in Guatemala is estimated at more than $100 million, according to TV Azteca.

Prior to the agreement, TV Azteca had no local presence in Guatemala. Yet the broadcaster's parent company, Grupo Salinas, has established banking and retail interests in the small country.

Here in Mexico, TV Azteca channels bombard viewers with ads plugging Grupo Salinas' other businesses, a model which may be repeated in Guatemala.