Grupo Televisa was founded in 1955 as Telesistema Mexicano, linking Mexico's first three television stations: XHTV-TV (founded in 1950), XEW-TV (1951) and XHGC-TV (1952). It was (and in modern-day Televisa still is) owned by the Azcárraga family, who had signed on Mexico's first radio station, XEW-AM, in 1930. Its main headquarters originally was on Avenida Chapultepec, located in downtown Mexico City, known as Televicentro. This building started operations on February 10, 1952.
In 1968, Televisión Independiente de México (TIM), their main competitor came on the scene with XHTIM-TV, Canal 8. At the same time both Telesistema and TIM were competing with XHAW-TV, local Canal 12, which also started transmissions that year. During the next 4 years both networks were competing in content and image, until September 17 of 1972, both networks finally merged together, bringing the name Televisa with them, in which Telesistema had 75% of the stocks, while Televisión Independiente had the rest, which was sold to Telesistema later because of financial problems.
Televisa started to transmit several programs produced by Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico) (UNAM) in 1977.
On March 3, 1983, Canal 8 changed their current schedule, to became a cultural profile, with informative programs, debates and cultural shows, a precursor to today's Galavisión. In May 18 of 1985 they changed their frequency to XEQ-TV, Canal 9.
On September 19, 1985, an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale caused wide-spread damage in Mexico City and left the south tower of Televisa's main building destroyed. However, there were no serious compromises to Televisa's transmissions.
In December 1997, Televisa joined with other Mexican media companies to create a marathon known as Teletón, whose mission is to provide knowledge about physical disabilities, giving a strong message about respect, equality and support to people in these conditions. This movement from media, enterprises and Mexicans is reflected in the buildings created with the money from this Marathon, named Centros de Rehabilitación Infantil (CRIT).
Grupo Televisa is owner of all of the following companies:
- Comercio Más (Internet EsMas.com)
- SKY Latin America (Only Mexico)
- DirecTV Mexico (Defunct DTH TV company)
- Cablevisión (Mexico City only)
- Televisa Networks
- Estadio Azteca (Football Stadium)
- Club América (Football Team)
- Club Necaxa (Football Team)
- San Luis FC (Football Team)
- Editorial Televisa (Books, Magazines and Newspapers)
- Intermex (Editorial house)
- Televisa Radio (Formerly Radiopolis)
- Videocine (Movie production and distribution)
- Televisa Home Entertainment (DVD Distribution)
- EMI Televisa Músic (Record Label)
- EMI Latin (Record Label)
- Televisa Licencias (Merchandising)
- Televisa Digital (Internet)
- OCESA (Admistrator of Concert Halls and stadiums)
- TuTV (HDTV Network in USA)
- La Sexta (TV Channel in Spain)
- Más Fondos (Investment Group)
- Volaris (Airline)
- CEA (Arts School)
Through Telesistema Mexicano, Televisa beams Canal de las Estrellas, Canal 5, and Galavisión all over Mexico (much like the superstations in the United States than the US-like television network model of network-affiliate). In addition, Telesistema Mexicano also owns Televisa-branded regional television stations, airing a mixture of Televisa programming and regional programming. Televisa also owns a stream known as 4tv or "Canal de la Ciudad" ("City Channel" in English), which is a television station aimed at Mexico City. 4tv is not affiliated with any Telesistema Mexicano regional TV station, however some of 4tv's programming can be found on the regional television stations.
Televisa also operates Televisa Radio, under the brand name of "W Radio México"; it is primarily a news and talk station.
Televisa has an ongoing relation with the US Univision network, stemming back to the 1960s, when Univision's predecessor, the Spanish International Network (SIN), was owned by Telesistema Mexicano, Televisa's predecessor. In 1986, Televisa became embroiled in a scandal with the SIN network news. The management wanted to produce and broadcast a newscast with Jacobo Zabludosky out of Miami. Half of the staff walked out of their jobs alleging Zabludosky was a puppet of the Mexican Government who had soft views with Castro's Cuba. The Televisa management was dumbfounded, they decided to move the now renamed Univision Network's HQ to Laguna Niguel, outside of Los Angeles to produce their shows from there including their beleaguered news division. They returned to Miami two years later.
Televisa has been a longtime provider of programming to Univision and its sister networks.
However, in recent years, Televisa's relationship with Univision has become strained. It was involved in a dispute with Univisión over the censoring and editing of its programming as well as non-payment for transmission of its programming to Univisión's Galavisión and Telefutura networks. In one editing incident, an episode of Con Todo was not shown on Galavisión due to a host appearing in blackface, and the show did not return to the cable station for two years. A breach of contract lawsuit against Univisión by Televisa has also been filed. When Univisión came up for sale, a group including Televisa inquired about taking an up to 25% ownership stake (the maximum allowed by US law for a foreign buyer). However, a group of U.S. private equity firms eventually won Univision.
Televisa is also the former owner of Fonovisa music, which it sold in 2001 to Univision.
Televisa's owners, the Azcarraga family, have long-standing ties to the former dominant party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party. During the PRI's rule, Televisa newscasts almost never criticized the government.
Televisa has also come under criticism for their supposed involvement in the New Mexican Media law passed by the Mexican Congress. The law supposedly gives Televisa such advantages and shielding against competition, and has been called by critics the "Televisa Law".
Additionally, some have accused Televisa's media content of being too Mexico City-centric, downplaying the importance of the rest of the nation, particularly when covering local politics of Mexico City as if they were national news, or by giving more space to local content in national broadcasting.
While Televisa has HDTV channels in places other than Mexico city, like Ciudad Juárez, Tijuana, Monterrey and others, there are certain shows they only show in HD in Mexico City. In places other than Mexico City, they show some sort of weird Schedule-Vision. For Example in the HD version of XHJCI-TV in Juarez they only turn on the HD signal from Mexico City from 6 PM - 9 PM Monday to Friday. In Juarez they don't show Alma de Hierro or the News on HD. They also don't show any of the Football games in HDTV.