Television is a popular form of entertainment in Mexico, with mass entertainment playing an important role in creating a national, unified culture.
Mexico has four national commercial television networks reaching 75% or more of the population. Two are owned by Televisa, the Canal de las Estrellas and Canal 5 networks, while Azteca owns the Azteca 7 and Azteca Trece networks. cadenatres is currently only available in Mexico City and some other cities in northern Mexico, but it will expand beginning in 2016.
There are also several other commercial networks with less than 75% national reach. Chief among these are Televisa's Gala TV, which in some areas shares time with regional programming, and Multimedios Televisión, which broadcasts mostly in northeastern Mexico.
Noncommercially, Canal Once operated by the Instituto Politécnico Nacional is the oldest educational television service in Latin America. The Sistema Público de Radiodifusión del Estado Mexicano (SPR) operates a network of digital retransmitters which offer multiple public television stations, including Canal 22, teveunam, Ingenio TV and its own Una Voz con Todos. As SPR's national transmitter network complements that of Canal Once, almost all of its stations also retransmit that network.
In Mexico, telenovelas usually involve a romantic couple that encounters many problems throughout the show's run, a villain and usually ends with a wedding. One common ending archetype, consists of a wedding, and with the villain dying, going to jail, becoming permanently injured or disabled, or losing his/her mind.
Television in Mexico first began in August 19, 1946 in Mexico City when Guillermo González Camarena transmitted the first television signal in Latin America from the bathroom of his home. On September 7, 1946 at 8:30 PM (CST) Mexico’s and Latin America’s first experimental television station was established and was given the XE1GC callsign. This experimental station broadcast an artistic program and interviews on Saturdays for two years.
Mexico’s first commercial station, XHTV channel 4 in Mexico City, signed on August 31, 1950, making Mexico the first Spanish-speaking country to introduce television. It started transmitting regular programs on the following day. It is also the first Hispanophone or Spanish speaking country to introduce television. The first program to be broadcast was President Miguel Alemán Valdés IV Informe de Gobierno. Within a year, XEW-TV channel 2, owned by the Azcárraga family, was formed. Mexico's first color television transmission was carried out by the third television station in the capital, González Camarena's XHGC Canal 5. In 1955, all three stations formed an alliance, Telesistema Mexicano (TSM), the predecessor to Televisa. In 1959, XEIPN-TV channel 11 signed on, the base of today's Canal Once network and the first educational television station in Latin America.
With the exception of the short-lived but popular Televisión Independiente de México (1968–72), which TSM absorbed in 1973 to form Televisa, the latter saw no major commercial competition until 1993. Instead, the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s were marked by a large expansion in state-owned television. This took flight in 1972 when the government, through financier SOMEX, expropriated XHDF-TV in Mexico City and used it to form the base of a Canal 13 national network with repeaters across the country. At the same time, a project known as Televisión Rural de México (later Televisión de la República Mexicana) sought to bring culture and information to rural Mexican audiences. In the 1980s, XHTRM-TV channel 22, the first UHF television station in the Valle de México, came to air bringing TRM programming to the nation's capital. In 1985, TRM was dismantled, and with the sign-on of XHIMT-TV channel 7 in Mexico City, the TRM repeaters were linked to that station, which became the flagship of the Red Nacional 7 of Imevisión. In 1993, Imevisión's privatization gave birth to Televisión Azteca.
This time period also saw the development of the first television networks run by state governments, including TVMÁS in Veracruz and TeleMichoacán. 25 of Mexico's 32 federal entities currently boast state networks.
The first cable system started to operate in the early 1960s in Monterrey, as a CATV service (an antenna at the top of the Loma Larga, which could get TV signals from South Texas). Most of the other major cities didn't develop cable systems until the late 1980s, due to government censorship. By 1989, the industry had had a major impulse with the founding of Multivisión—a MMDS system who started to develop its own channels in Spanish—and the later development of companies such as Cablemás and Megacable.
Over the past few years, many US networks have started to develop content for the Latin American market, such as CNN en Español, MTV, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and others. The country also has a DTH service called SKY (Televisa & News Corp. owned). Recently DirecTV merged with Sky. The dominant company nowadays is Megacable and Grupo HEVI.