Televisa is the largest Spanish-speaking media company (or if you decide to add up the other companies owned by Grupo Televisa or by any of the Azcárragas, a Mega-Corp) was initially founded as Telesistema Mexicano in 1955, in Mexico City, by unifying three different channels under said banner and then exerting control over several smaller TV stations in the rest of Mexico as time went by. Its four over-the-air channels (those available without suscription to any cable company) are:
- Las Estrellas (The Stars, Channel 2): Its flagship network, airing soap operas, news, variety programs, soccer matches, game shows and Mexican movies. It changed its name on 2016 due to Televisa wanting to branch off just TV and showing it's a multimedia company, so it removed the "Channel" part of the name.
- Foro TV (Channel 4): Local channel for Mexico City, but available nationwide via cable and satellite. For most of the 1990s and 2000s it was filled with variety shows, Mexican movies, less-popular sports and reruns of American series, but since 2010 it became a news-oriented channel, originally launched for cable only. This network is also simulcast in the United States.
- Elsewhere in Mexico, channel 4 is reserved for local TV stations run by Televisa as well, such as Guadalajara's Channel 4 known for its variety show Lagrimita y Costel. Like Foro TV, most of these TV stations are available on nationwide paid TV.
- Canal Cinco (Channel 5): Provides mostly foreign programming such as popular cartoons and live-action series from Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and others, sitcoms, and movies, but they also air some in-house programs in the primetime slot. Also airs matches of the Mexican soccer team.
- Gala TV (Channel 9): Rerun farm of foreign Soap Operas (mostly from Telemundo) and from those already shown in Channel 2; but also airs reruns of past comedy programs of Televisa, soccer matches, NFL and MLB games, Mexican wrestling and also Mexican movies. Known as Galavisión from 2001 until 2013, but not related at all to the American cable channel of the same name.
- And in many Mexican cities there will always be a local channel operated by Televisa.
- Music channels:
- Telehit: Originally a Pop and Latin rock focused network, established in 1993, founded as a Latin American alternative to MTV, with more emphasis on Rock en Español (a blessing to said genre, as back then it got screwed over by them after the Avándaro fiasco). Nowadays it's filled with combinations of comedy and talk shows (that at least are better than those from MTV, although too Mexican to be understood clearly by anyone outside of the country) but they still air a higher amount of music-related programming and music videos than MTV. Simulcast in the US.
- Ritmoson Latino: Created in the late 90s, basically a channel where only Latin American-made music is aired. Also aired in the US.
- Bandamax: Norteño, Mariachi and Banda music. The genres are almost endemic to Mexico, though they find their appeal outside of the country (mostly in Southwestern USA due to the large amount of Mexican expatriates over there; as with the other two channels, also aired in the US).
- News channels:
- TDN: Sports news network: In a rather ironic twist, this one doesn't get to air the Mexican national soccer team matches, but it does show a lot of documentaries about sports, and some underrepresented sport events. Sadly, they don't showcase the Mexican baseball league (that's part of Ay M Sports). In the United States, paired with Univision's sports network with the awkward combo-name of "Univision Deportes-Televisa Deportes Network".
- Noticias Eco: The first Spanish-language 24-hour news network, which was created nearly a decade before CNN launched its Spanish-language version. It existed from 1988 to 2001.
- Entertainment channels:
- Tiin: A channel targeted at older children and teenagers, showcasing original programming for this public, reruns of some youth-oriented soap operas, as well as foreign cartoons, TV series and movies. It was previously named American Network, which showcased shows from CBS, its evening news, and game shows.
- TLNovelas: Showcases old soap operas (although not older than the mid-1980s). A Univision-branded version airs in the US.
- Distrito Comedia : Reruns of former Televisa-produced comedy series like Los Polivoces, Chespirito and Chiquilladas. Known as Clásico TV until October 1, 2012.
- Golden (1 and Edge): International movies.
- De Película: Mexican movies.
- Unicable: Univisión programming dump and original programming consisting of comedic talk shows which are not censored in language, with most of its daytime schedule filled with programs like Gringo En México, Iron Chef and a few B-movies shown every now and then.
In The '60s and The '70s, during the heights of the Cold War, Televisa was the government's mouthpiece and received a lot of flak regarding the Tlatelolco massacre (this, like the Mexican-American War, is a delicate issue amongst Mexicans, so avoid discussing it unless you are acquainted enough with anyone), which was completely covered up. Also, during the 1970s, it spawned one of its most beloved shows — Chespirito, which in turn spawned El Chavo del ocho and El Chapulín Colorado, both producing their fair share of memes that are still preserved into Latin American pop culture.
The '80s were the network's Glory Days, many of their most known celebrities were launched in this era, and their best -and worst- programming was shown. Telenovelas such as El Abuelo y Yo, Carrusel, Bodas De Odio, and Cuna de Lobos being the most talked-about shows during The '80s, and in The '90s many telenovelas such as Esmeralda, María La Del Barrio, Corazón Salvaje, and La Usurpadora raved to the point that many of them were incredibly popular in Eastern Europe, and it is said that during the Kosovo War, militias used to make truces only to watch these telenovelas. Also prominent of this period were the "Historical Romance" telenovelas, holding love stories in the midst of the important events of Mexican history; examples of these works were "El Vuelo Del Aguila" (Mexican Revolution), "La Antorcha Encendida" (Mexican Independence) and "El Carruaje" (post-French Intervention), and perhaps they were more known due to their attention to detail back then.
However, during The '90s, as the Mexican government approved a broadcasting license grant on the Salinas Pliego family, Televisa found itself having to change to adapt. Add to this the fact that Emilio Azcarraga II died, and you had a major turning point not only in the company, but also in tv entertainment in Mexico. This included profoundly dumbing down even more its content to compete in the ratings war with the then young upstart TV Azteca, a trend that continues to this day.
Televisa was also, during the 1990s, one of the main contributors to the Anime Boom of the Nineties in Mexico (alongside the other main channel, TV Azteca), showing Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Ranma ½, Pokémon, and Digimon (though seemingly, like TV Azteca, they only noticed the massive amounts of violence and UST in some of these cartoons until 1999 or 2000, when Televisa found out about the moral panic that many of these cartoons caused and decided to pander to the moralist crowd by pulling most of them from their regular programming.
The 2000's are ambivalent regarding their results: They started to diversify their entertainment options by starting to make American and British-styled series, which were good but unfortunately they had failed due to bad management and ratings. Their news department has lost some credibility after they decided not to report on the kidnapping of the politician and former candidate Diego Fernández de Cevallos (to the point that even Jacobo Zabludovsky, former star anchor of the network, called them out on it). Their soapies aren't nearly as good as they were in the pastnote , and with the advent of the Internet, they have become extremely overprotective of their intelectual properties, to the point of handing legal threats to people who posted even a single clip of their programming to the internetnote and they also tried to press into the Mexican Congress the infamous "Ley Televisa" (which was fortunately revoked due to public and independent media outrage). Most of those aspects are blamed on Bernardo Gómez Martínez, who became vicepresident of the company after Emilio Azcárraga Jean became its CEO (as a matter of fact, Emilio Azcárraga Milmo - Father of the current CEO Enrique Azcárraga Jean and previous CEO before dying - really disliked Gómez Martínez, and thought of him as being a greedy Smug Snake). On the flipside, the good thing of said diversification is that they have been pressing for the use of HDTV in all of Mexico's public channels, given that most of the cable channels have not succeeded into going there, their other services getting better, and the seemingly unending stream of subpar soapies ended with the release of the miniseries "Gritos de Muerte y Libertad", in celebration of two centuries of Mexican independence, which was very well made and well researched for a change (although, like virtually all historically themed soaps, it got dismal ratings).
As of 2016, Televisa is facing a deep financial downturn caused by not adapting to the cultural and technological transformations of The New '10s. It all began when, back in 2012, Televisa decided to collude with the ruling political party PRI to make Enrique Peña Nieto the ruling president by speaking nothing but good about him and speaking all evil about his opponents. They didn't really bother about putting up any such thing as a masquerade, because apparently they underestimated the then-recent growth of Facebook and Twitter or they thought they would never notice — but they did, and as a result Televisa's popularity tanked very hard among the millenial crowd that used social media. To complicate things even further, the British newspaper The Guardian published in 2013 a thorough report detailing every single one of the acts of corruption between the PRI and Televisa in the 2012 elections, and then 2014 saw the premiere of a movie that caused Televisa's popularity to sink even more — The Perfect Dictatorship, a political drama film featuring a thinly-veiled recreation of Televisa's collusion with the government and what they did to help make Enrique Peña Nieto the president of Mexico, which quickly became famous and successful after some attempts to stifle its distribution backfired very badly.
Televisa's recent decline was also thanks to a new competitor in the audiovisual media market: Netflix, which arrived to Mexico in 2011 but gained popularity around 2014 as broadband connections, smartphones and TV sets with a Netflix app became widespread. Given these conditions, Netflix quickly spread among the population thanks to its greater convenience (no need to deal with a cable TV operator, you just need to sign contract with an ISP, press Play and It Just Works), its greater assortment of international TV and movie hits by just pressing Play on the remote control, and the fact that Televisa was already so loathed among the Mexican middle-class youth that Netflix became popular by just not being Televisa, and as a result lots of middle-class Mexicans outright dropped their traditional TV services in favor of the new "internet TV" that was Netflix. Then the analog blackout took place in 2014, leaving out not only millions of poor Mexicans unable to afford a decoder but also leaving out many middle-class Mexicans who just didn't bother to get a digital decoder because Netflix was just that convenient (and it was not Televisa). With its numbers dwindling as more people jumped into Netflix, Televisa tried to jump into the video streaming bandwagon in 2016 by pulling their content from Netflix and moving it to their brand new video-on-demand service called Blim... but it backfired as the millenial crowd which was supposed to be their target market just ended up laughing in their faces on social media. And to add up, when Televisa removed their series from Netflix, the shares value of the latter increased, with Netflix making fun of the absence of Televisa's content. And then, Telmex CEO Carlos Slim decided to undermine Televisa's (and TV Azteca's) market share even further by purchasing exclusive broadcasting rights for the 2016 Río de Janeiro Olympics and putting them up on his own video streaming service Clarovideo, which ended up having a positive reception due to actually showcasing the Olympics instead of stale jokes and soccer.
But on a more positive note regarding this media conglomerate, at least their sports commentators are really good (especially "El Perro" Bermúdez), managing to generate their own memes — "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!" is just one of the many. They also popularized soccer in all of Mexico, since before the sixties most of the teams were located in central Mexico, and the dominating sport was baseball. Televisa had controlling stakes on some of the football league's teams and so had an interest of promoting the sport over all others.
And that's Televisa in a nutshell.
Televisa programming is seen in the U.S. on Univision, and at times on Telemundo. The mentioned simulcasts above in the US are carried by Univision as part of Televisa's distribution contracts with Univision.