The unexplored challenges of television distribution: The case of Azteca America

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The goal of the Azteca America television network, a new arrival within the U.S. Latino field, has challenged the long-standing duopoly held by Univision and Telemundo. Because the Azteca network was launched with a limited coverage of 18 percent of U.S. Hispanic households, its economic viability depended on the expansion of its coverage through co-opting TV affiliates. The dynamics of television programming distribution remain largely understudied by media studies. The author argues that the site of distribution is a structured space that not only defines the access and future success of newcomers in the television business but also demonstrates the institutional culture and business practices in which televisual media represent acquired economic value. At the core of Azteca America's corporate distribution efforts to reach nationwide coverage lies a process of making the network attractive and valuable to future TV station affiliates, advertising agencies, and corporate clients. The way executives add economic value by deploying Mexicanness by means of the hybrid Azteca America identity and the network institutional business culture allows for the interrogation of longstanding assumptions held by media professionals about the Hispanic market, the U.S. Spanish-language television industry, and its constituency, the Latino audience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-90
Number of pages25
JournalTelevision and New Media
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Latino
  • broadcasting
  • business
  • distribution
  • television
  • transnational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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