Mexico offers an abundance of news and information choices across a wide spectrum of traditional and modern media.
Mexico has quite a lot of newspapers, both national dailies and regional papers. Free broadcast television is dominated by two companies – Televisa and TV Azteca – with small local broadcasters making little impression on the market. Pay TV and Internet services are ubiquitous services across the country and there is strong competition in the market for radio, especially in Mexico City.
Televisa’s flagship channel is Channel 2, and it also runs channels 4, 5 and 9.
TV Azteca’s main channel is Channel 13, and it also runs Channel 7, and Channel 40 in Mexico City.
The main fare on Mexican television includes news, soap operas (Mexican soap operas are popular in many parts of the world), sports, game shows, reality shows, talk and gossip shows, as well as an abundance of U.S. programs (such as cartoons, sitcoms and dramas) dubbed into Spanish.
More cultural content (music, dance, theater, etc) is available on government-run Channel 11 and Channel 22. Their broadcast range is limited, although the channels are available on most pay-TV systems.
Despite a broad variety of programming on the free broadcast channels, most people who can afford it opt for some type of pay TV service. One of the reasons is the inordinate amount of time dedicated to advertising on free television.
Cable TV in Mexico
The most common restricted TV service at present is cable. There are more than 4 million cable subscribers in the Mexico, and about 1.5 million satellite television subscribers. Usually there is only one cable TV operator in any given area, although there are several hundred small cable operators in the country, and a handful of large cable companies.
Sky Television in Mexico
Sky Mexico is the country’s only provider of satellite TV service. It recently launched a prepaid service where customers buy the equipment (for about US$200) and can then buy time as they need it, by the week or month. This could be ideal service for you if you have a holiday home in Mexico or if you only visit a few times a year, perhaps on an ad-hoc basis.
Another, less expensive, option is MasTV, which offers restricted signals via airwaves in about a dozen cities.
The communications and media markets in Mexico are beginning to open up and major players and preparing to offer their customers a range of media and communication services with the convenience of one supplier and one bill.
For example, Mexican cable companies have been offering broadband Internet service for several years, and are now beginning to offer telephone services. Likewise, phone company Telmex is planning to start offering television services this year (it’s waiting for regulatory clearance), which will add another option for consumers to choose from.
Mexican radio offers a large variety of programming, from news, talk shows, rock and pop music in English and Spanish, regional Mexican music, classical music, etc.
As with television, the amount of time given to commercial breaks can be exasperating.
Radio Stations in Mexico
Stations and frequencies vary from region to region, but the biggest radio groups post their programming and have live streaming on Internet. The principal commercial radio broadcasters in Mexico are:
In addition, Radio Unam is run by the National Autonomous University, and features more cultural content than commercial radio.
See Blog: An Oasis on the Frequency Band
Circulation of Mexican newspapers is small compared to more developed countries, and most don’t make a lot of noise about their actual readership numbers.
See Blog: Mind Your Vocabulary
Among Mexico’s principal daily newspapers are:
Reforma, the sister publication of Monterrey’s El Norte, is published in Mexico City. With its launch in 1993, Reforma started a new era of independent newspapers, at one point using its own journalists to distribute the paper following a boycott by the distributors’ union in the capital. It remains one of the newspapers with the most credibility. Its Internet site currently requires a paid subscription for access.
El Universal, along with Reforma, is among the biggest distribution broadsheets. This paper has long been famous for its large classified advertising section, Aviso Oportuno, which is one of the first places people go when looking to rent property, buy a used car or find a job. Its Internet site offer free access to all sections and content.
La Jornada is Mexico’s leading left-wing newspaper. It has some of the country’s best political cartoonists, publishes more readers’ letters than most, and includes high quality coverage in its arts and provinces sections. It tends to be text-heavy for modern tastes, and rarely prints in color.
Milenio published a weekly news magazine before launching its daily newspaper some years ago. A sort of hybrid between a tabloid and broadsheet, with separate pull-out sports and entertainment sections. It’s easier to read than the broadsheets, but a little less serious.
El Financiero is the country’s oldest financial newspaper, with a focus on economic and business news. It has lost popularity over the years, particularly as other papers have beefed up their business coverage.
El Economista is a financial newspaper printed on pink paper. Like El Financiero, it focuses on business news, and is where most official and legal business announcements (about debt placements, share offers, etc) are published. Its readers are largely members of the business classes.
The News, the country’s English language paper, was re-launched in 2007, several years after being halted with the closure of its original parent paper Novedades. The News caters to visitors, expatriates and English-speaking Mexicans. It includes a variety of domestic and international news, business and sports. Notable is its extensive use of large color photographs. Distribution is primarily focused on Mexico City although the paper is becoming more widely available in tourist areas as well as cities popular with expatriates, for example, San Miguel de Allende.
As in the case of newspapers, relatively few people in Mexico read magazines, although there are a number of interesting publications, from weekly news magazines to monthly fashion and other specialized publications.
Proceso is a weekly political magazine, mostly critical of the government. It dedicates a lot of space to drug trafficking and other contentious issues.
Vertigo, published weekly, provides a summary of the week’s news, but carries limited original content.
Milenio, the forerunner to the daily Milenio, offers weekly news and commentary.
Letras Libres contains commentary on politics and culture, with a wide range of subject matter.
Tiempo Libre is the place to find out what’s on in theater, cinema, concert, recitals, dance, museums, etc.
Mexico Desconocido is Mexico’s answer to National Geographic, with features on a host of cultural and natural wonders in Mexico. It appears monthly.
Internet is readily available in most parts of Mexico, with about 5 million active Internet accounts in the country.
According to the telecommunications regulator, there were 22.8 million users in 2007, of whom 7.8 million use Internet at home, and 15 million either at work or public Internet access sites.
Mexico’s government operates an ‘open internet’ policy and, to date, has not censored (blocked) access to any internet sites or internet companies for political reasons.
Internet Service Providers in Mexico
The main Internet provider is Telmex, the country’s incumbent telephone company. Its high-speed (DSL) internet access is known as ‘Infinitum’; it also offers a dial-up service for very remote areas where DSL is currently unavailable.
Also See: Guide to Communications in Mexico
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