The television industry in Mexico is facing important changes due to legal factors. In 2014 there was a Constitutional and legal reform—which is discussed in a further section—that partially ended the monopolistic nature of this industry. During most part of the 20th-century, the television industry was a private monopoly. In this first phase that began in the 1950s, the Azcárraga family became the owners of all the national networks and most of the local TV systems. In exchange for being a private monopoly, the Azcárraga family, owner of Televisa, was loyal to the semi-authoritarian regime and the newscasts were not allowed to be critical of the president and governors and, in general, of all the public powers.
The second phase of this industry started in 1993, when the Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari allowed to open two national networks. Both networks were bought by Ricardo Salinas Pliego, who founded TV Azteca and emerged as a competitor for Televisa. Nevertheless, instead of competing, Televisa and TV Azteca collided and formed a duopolistic market, which did not change the television contents.
The third phase occurred in 2014, after the creation of a new law that regulates the broadcast industry and that, among other things, pushed for reducing the ownership concentration in the realms of radio, television, and telecommunications - this reform is discussed in a further section - and, in 2016, Imagen Television became the third national TV network in Mexico.
Currently, there are 760 television stations, including seven national channels: Las estrellas and Canal 5, owned by Televisa, Azteca 1, Azteca 13, adn40 and a+ owned by TV Azteca and Imagen TV, owned by Grupo Imagen. As can be observed, the television industry is diversified. However, Televisa still controls 43 percent of the market, TV Azteca 31 percent, Imagen TV 21 percent and other small players 5 percent. In terms of infrastructure, the TV network is the biggest communication system in the country: on average, there are 1.9 TV devices per home, 96 percent of the population reported to own a television, and 49 percent said to have a cable or satellite subscription. In other words, television is the only communication system that has a quasi-universal access for Mexicans.
According to an IFT survey in the second trimester of 2017, the top five most viewed TV channels in Mexico were Las estrellas (Televisa) with 57 percent, Azteca Uno (TV Azteca) 52 percent, Canal Cinco (Televisa) 42 percent, Azteca 7 (TV Azteca) 37 percent and Canal 11 (TV Azteca) 10 percent. The same study shows that newscasts (49 percent) are the most viewed content followed by movies (47 percent), soap operas (42 percent), series (32 percent) and sports (30 percent), without mentioning whether this changed depending on the audience. However, studies that measure what people actually watch, differ in results. According to a Nielsen study published by IFT on the 15 shows with more rating in the second trimester of 2017, there are three relevant conclusions that arise: 1) all the shows pertain to the TV station Las estrellas; 2) seven shows were soap operas; and 3) only one was a newscast (En punto con Denise Maerker).