Emilio Milmo Azcarraga


What Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch are to North American news and entertainment media, Emilio "El Tigre" Azcarraga Milmo was to Latin America's. The founder of the enormous Televisa media empire, Azcarraga was once the richest man in Latin America. His Televisa controls the world's largest provider of Spanish-language programming, including most of the internationally popular telenovelas (Latino soap operas), and is a 30 percent owner of Sky, Latin America's television satellite. The company also owns Mexico's biggest cable system, TCI International, Globo, and NewsCorp as well as the largest independent record company in Hispania. Azcarraga was one of the first to comprehend the value of satellite-fed programming in developing a network web. He utilized satellite technology to significantly fortify the SIN/SICC network in the U.S. and though he was forced by the FCC to sell web stations from 1986 to 1987, he and partners Jerry Perenchio and Gustavo Cisneros of Venezuela were able to buy it back from Hallmark in 1992. A native of Mexico, Azcarraga entered the entertainment industry via his father, Emilo Azcarraga Vidaurreta, who bequeathed his son his lucrative Telesistema Mexicano. Televisa was born when Azcarraga's company purchased its rival, Television Independiente Mexicana. Televisa held a virtual monopoly on Latin American television until 1993 when the powerful TV Azteca was privatized. Even so, Televisa and Azcarraga were so powerful in Mexico that the network had great political influence and played a key role in the election of Carlos Salinas de Gortari as president during the 1988 election. Azcarraga made no bones about his support for Salinas and even went so far as to use his clout to badmouth Salinas' opponents in daily newscasts. Such bias created considerable controversy in Mexico. Azcarraga's fortunes declined sharply in 1994 due to the peso's devaluation and a drop in Televisa stock. Azcarraga died of cancer in Miami at the age of 66. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

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