Mexico’s World Cup bid a boon for US economy

Al Jazeera America, 11/23/2013

Soccer StadiumIn a reflection of changing demographics in the U.S., Mexican soccer is a significant player on American television. A 2012 ESPN poll confirmed that in the key 12- to 24-year-old demographic, soccer has surpassed basketball, college football and Major League Baseball to become the second-most watched sport after pro football. But among all age groups of Hispanics in the U.S., soccer’s anticipated edge was even more pronounced than expected (almost nine percentage points higher than the second-place NFL), prompting ESPN to buy the rights to English-language broadcasts of Mexico’s pro soccer league, Liga MX. English-language ESPN and ABC broadcasts of the last World Cup saw the U.S. team peak with just over 15 million viewers, versus Mexico’s peak of 5.5 million. But Spanish-language broadcasts of Mexican games on Univision averaged 6.1 million viewers, with a peak of 8.7 million when Mexico faced Argentina in the second round. This suggests that in terms of U.S. media, Mexico’s presence in the World Cup is at least as important as the U.S.’s.

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Mexico airline apologizes for light-skin casting call for TV commercial

people with question marksThe Washington Post, 8/16/2013

Mexico’s Aeromexico airline and its ad agency have apologized for a producer’s casting call requesting that only light-skinned people apply as actors for a television commercial.

Mexico’s population is largely dark-skinned, but Mexican television ads routinely feature light-skinned actors, sparking accusations of racial discrimination. The commercial has not yet been made, but the casting call specified it wanted “nobody dark skinned,” only actors with “white skin.”

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‘The Bridge’ straddles U.S., Mexico border

Summer BridgeLos Angeles Times, 5/24/2013

FX’s new summer drama “The Bridge” has many common elements of contemporary thrillers: a sadistic serial killer, mismatched detectives and a desperate race against time. But “The Bridge” is distinguished by a hot-button issue that brings an edgy topicality to the usual formula — the politics and controversy behind the border between the United States and Mexico.

In this drama, the detectives aren’t the only ones at odds. It’s a tale of two cities that couldn’t be more different: the serene metropolis of El Paso and the more dangerous region of Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua, Mexico, where large drug cartels wreak havoc and murderous mayhem. “It’s such a high-stakes situation that just seems ripe for human stories,” said executive producer Meredith Stiehm. “I feel like it’s been in the news for a long time, but we haven’t seen it dramatized successfully.”

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Billionaire Slim Preparing TV Blitz After Mexico Crackdown

carlos slimBloomberg, 4/12/13

Billionaire Carlos Slim is preparing an aggressive push into Mexico’s television market to take advantage of new telecommunications legislation, even as the changes threaten his dominance in the phone business. While Slim’s wireless carrier, America Movil SAB, is one of the chief targets of a bill to create more competition in Mexico, proposals to give consumers more options in cable and satellite TV will benefit the company, Chief Financial Officer Carlos Garcia-Moreno said last month. The bill is under Senate review after passing the lower house of Congress in March.

The law offers Slim his best chance in years to get a license to offer pay-TV services over satellite and cable, said Pablo Vallejo, an analyst at Corporativo GBM SAB. Slim, the world’s richest person, is amassing media assets, including Mexican soccer teams and the rights to air the Olympics, to lure customers with exclusive programming.

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Mexico’s president tries to loosen country’s monopolies

Enrique PeñaNieto 2USA Today, 4/11/13

Jesús Briseño is a Mexican entrepreneur, brewing craft beers like pale ale, stout and a pilsner named for Jesús Malverde, the patron saint of smugglers and drug dealers. But often it’s not Mexico bars that sell his beer but U.S.-based outlets here like Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven.

The reason has to do with Mexico’s system of monopolies that are allowed to secure exclusive rights to major industries and products such as telecommunications, broadcasting, cement, even beer. Mexico’s two largest brewers use exclusivity contracts to prevent all products but their own from being sold in nearly all of Mexico’s bars and restaurants.

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Mexico Goes After Its Monopolies

using smartphoneThe Wall Street Journal, 3/11/2013

The monopoly powers of two of Mexico’s richest businessmen, one being Carlos Slim, are coming under fire with a broad set of new laws that aim to open up the telecommunications and television businesses to competition.

The plans, announced on Monday by the president, are aimed principally at Mr. Slim’s telephone giant, América Móvil SAB, and Mexico’s leading broadcaster, Grupo Televisa TLEVISA.MX , which each control 70% of their respective markets. The proposal calls for the creation of a new telecommunications regulator that would be able to order asset sales by companies that dominate a market, and limit companies’ ability to stall competition through endless litigation.

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Mexico’s “game-changing” telecom reform due in days: party leader

using smartphoneReuters, 3/6/2013

Mexico’s phone and television markets, long dominated by Carlos Slim and his rivals, are facing a game-changing shakeup that could be announced in days, according to one of the political leaders tasked with drafting the reform. “This (reform) changes the whole board game,” Gustavo Madero, chairman of the conservative opposition National Action Party (PAN), told Reuters in an interview.

The leaders of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Mexico’s two main opposition parties are currently preparing the telecoms reform, which should be brought to Congress in days, not weeks, Madero said.

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