Editorial Television, S.A. de C.V. History

Avenida Vasco de Quiroga 2000
Mexico City, D.F. 01210

Telephone: (52) (55) 5261-2600
Fax: (52) (55) 5261-2705

Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Grupo Televisa, S.A. de C.V.
Incorporated: 1979 as Editorial Provenemex
Sales: 3.02 billion pesos ($288.61 million) (2002)
NAIC:422920 Book, Periodical and Newspaper Wholesalers; 511120 Periodical Publishers

Key Dates:

The Cuban fashion magazine Vanidades moves to the United States.
Armando de Armas begins publishing Spanish-language magazines under license.
Televisa establishes an editorial subsidiary to exploit its television offerings.
De Armas's operation is publishing 15 Spanish-language magazines in Miami.
Televisa purchases the Miami business for $130 million.
Editorial Televisa's magazines have been reduced from 56 to 34 in an economy drive.
Editorial Televisa publishes 137 million magazine copies of more than 50 titles.

Company History:

Editorial Television, S.A. de C.V., sometimes referred to as Edivisa, is the publishing subsidiary of Grupo Televisa, S.A. de C.V., the largest media company in Latin America. It is the leader in the publication and distribution of magazines in Mexico and world leader in the publication and distribution of magazines in the Spanish language, in terms of circulation. The Mexican magazines are edited in Mexico City; the ones destined for other Spanish-speaking countries and Hispanics in the United States are edited from Miami. Editorial Televisa plays an invaluable role for the parent company by publicizing its television, radio, and film-distribution businesses, as well as professional soccer teams.

Editorial Televisa's Predecessors to 1992

Editorial Televisa's roster of publications began with Vanidades. Designed as a quality monthly, it was the first to introduce--in the Spanish language--avant-garde society to French and American fashions in the 1930s. It was Cuba's most popular women's magazine until the owner and publisher, Francisco Saralegui, Jr., moved to New York in 1960, shortly after Fidel Castro came to power. Saralegui reintroduced his magazine to Latin America in 1961 and moved his company to Miami in 1966. The following year the Saralegui family sold the business to Armando de Armas, a Venezuelan who was also a leading Latin American newsstand distributor. De Armas made Vanidades available throughout Latin America and began adding other Spanish-language magazines to the roster of his company. Beginning in 1965 De Armas started turning out Spanish-language magazines under license from The Hearst Corporation. The first of these was Buenhogar, a version of Good Housekeeping. This was followed by Spanish-language editions of the Hearst magazines Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Popular Mechanics, and Ring. GeoMundo, a monthly similar to National Geographic, was launched in 1977.

De Armas's venture became Hispanic Magazine Network, U.S.A. in 1982. Customers traditionally bought the magazines at newsstands, but in 1984 the company was experimenting for the first time with subscription sales. In all, Hispanic Magazine Network claimed 252,800 sales per issue for its combined 15 magazines. Each magazine had its own editorial staff, although about half the editorial content of the magazines published under license was being picked up from their U.S. counterparts. Harper's Bazaar en Espanol, for example, sent its own fashion writer and photographer to European collections to provide the Hispanic reader with the most current information.

Meanwhile, Grupo Televisa, S.A. de C.V., under the direction of Emilio Azcarraga Milmo, had come to dominate Mexican television, particularly through its wildly successful telenovelas-- romantic dramas, often lavishly produced, aimed at female audiences and running for a period of weeks or months. Televisa established Editorial Provenemex as an editorial subsidiary to exploit its telenovelas by publishing TV y Novelas, which became Mexico's best-selling magazine. Tele-Guia, a weekly television guide, became the most popular in its field. Provenemex also published Tu, a monthly aimed at teenage girls; Eres, a biweekly also aimed at the adolescent market but emphasizing entertainment; Eres Novia, a bimonthly for young brides; and Somos, a biweekly aimed at young adults. All four were originated by Laura Diez Barroso (later Laura Laviada), a niece of Azcarraga.

Publishing in Miami and Mexico City: 1992-97

A Spanish publisher, Grupo Anaya, bought de Armas's operation in 1989. When (as America Publishing Group) it was sold to Grupo Televisa in 1992 for $130 million, the enterprise was called Editorial America and consisted of no less than 80 titles, including not only consumer magazines but also romance novels, comics, and special interest books. Grupo Televisa paid for Editorial America with funds raised from its initial public offering of stock and then paid almost as much for Ovaciones, a Mexican twice-daily newspaper focusing on sports and entertainment that proved unprofitable and was sold in 2000. In 1993 Televisa and Hearst created their own system of magazine distribution in a number of Latin American countries. Televisa's publishing division, which included the book publisher Clio and the magazine distributor Intermex--largest in Mexico--reached sales of $320 million that year.

With the integration of Editorial America into Grupo Televisa, many of the Miami-based magazines overlapped with the ones published by Televisa's Corporacion Editorial, as its publishing division was now called. Some of these were moved to Mexico City and, accordingly, the 400-person Miami office was pared. After the peso devaluation of late 1994, Mexico fell into recession, and Televisa's economy drive gained even more impetus. Laviada was placed in charge of Editorial Televisa in 1995 and took a 35 percent stake in Televisa's publishing division in 1996. Laviada reduced Editorial America's 56 magazines to 34 and eliminated all but one of its 35 comic book and pocketbook titles. Overall, two-thirds of the division's U.S. employees were axed.

Of the dozen or so magazines that remained in Miami, most were turned out under license from Hearst, Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. (PC Magazine and PC Computing), or the French publisher Hachette Filipacchi Medias S.A. (Elle, Quo). As a result of these changes, revenue dropped but profits rose. In Mexico City, the publishing division was also turning out books and magazines such as Cantinflas and La Antorcha Encendida that promoted Televisa's television programs, and cultural offerings such as the illustrated books of its book publishing arm, Clio, and the award-winning art and cultural magazine Saber Ver. It also introduced Deporte Internacional, a biweekly sports magazine for U.S. Hispanics edited in Mexico but printed in Miami. (The Mexican equivalent was Deporte Ilustrado.)

In 1997 the Miami office introduced an international version of Eres, with a 16-page U.S. section added to the Mexican version, and of Somos, featuring international and Latin American entertainers as well as Mexicans. In order to tap the neglected male market, Editorial Televisa also added Automovil Panamericano, a car magazine introduced through a joint venture with Luke Motorpress (later Motorpress Iberica, S.A.) and Men's Health en Espanol, published in partnership with Rodale Press. Like Deporte Internacional, they appeared originally only in the United States but were soon introduced to Latin American markets in regional editions, which allowed advertisers to direct their messages to specific markets and reduced the publisher's risk in the event of an economic crisis in any particular country. (They also reduced problems arising from regional differences in the Spanish language.)

TV y Novelas was selling 1.4 million copies in its five biweekly regional editions (including TV y Novelas USA) at this time and helping to promote the Grupo Televisa telenovelas now airing from the United States to Argentina. Vanidades, now also a biweekly, had circulation of more than 620,000 in nine or ten regional editions. Eres had equivalent circulation in four editions; the Mexican edition dominated, and singers on Televisa programs often graced its covers. Cosmopolitan en Espanol, appearing monthly, had circulation of 448,373 in seven regional editions. The three editions of the monthly Harper's Bazaar en Espanol had sales of 95,517. In all, Editorial Televisa was selling about eight million issues a month and reaching an estimated 43 million readers throughout the Americas.

Like their U.S. and European counterparts, the Spanish-language women's magazines concentrated on subjects such as fashion, beauty, careers, celebrities, and relationships, but in a more conservative matter. "There's a very big double standard in Latin America," Sara Maria Castany, editor of a regional edition of Cosmopolitan en Espanol, told Lisa Lockwood of WWD/Women's Wear Daily. "We couldn't mention the word cama [bed] on the cover, and now we do. ... It's opened up a lot. Still there are certain topics Latin women don't want to read about, such as abortion and lesbianism." Castany added that unlike the English-language Cosmopolitan, hers carried a cooking section because "Latin women still enjoy the art of cooking. They still think the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. We also deal a lot with occult subjects, such as palmistry and tarot cards." Harper's Bazaar en Espanol was using 70 percent original material. A former Cosmopolitan en Espanol editor had high praise for what she called Editorial Televisa's selling of "Anglo-European culture" to Hispanics through its magazines. "They're very art-driven, a great training ground, and they use a very beautiful, graceful Spanish," she told Andrew Paxman of Variety.

Editorial Televisa in 2002

By 2002 the Editorial Televisa roster of magazines produced under joint ventures included a Spanish-language version of National Geographic edited in Mexico City but printed in the United States, Muy Interesante, a Madrid-based monthly devoted to science and culture, Autoplus (with Motorpress Iberica), and Golf Digest (Advance Magazine Publishers Inc.). Joint-venture editions of Maxim (with Dennis Publishing), Travel+Leisure (with American Express Publishing Corp.), Electronic Gambling (with Ziff Davis), and Disney Witch (with Walt Disney Co.), were introduced during the year. Editorial Televisa also launched a monthly guide for the parent company's cable-television division called Contacto Digital and a lifestyle magazine called Caras. Another popular title was the biweekly Furia Musical and its U.S.-printed variant Furia Musical USA. But Editorial Televisa had been ordered to cut its costs by about one-third and to focus on the most profitable of its titles. It was also merged with web site Es.Mas.com, the Internet platform in which Grupo Televisa had invested the equivalent of millions of dollars.

In 2002 Editorial Televisa published 137 million magazine copies of more than 50 titles distributed in 18 countries and the titles of greatest popularity of each category in its region. TV y Novelas--now a weekly in Mexico--had a circulation of almost two million copies a month; it and Tele-Guia, the company's weekly television guide, occupied first and second place, respectively, in terms of circulation in Mexico. Its Intermex subsidiary was the largest publications distributor in Latin America, accounting for about 60 percent of all magazines distributed in Mexico by means of more than 20,000 points of sale. There were more than 80,000 points of sale in other parts of Latin America and the United States, taking in more than 300 million people in 18 countries. More than 64 percent of the publications distributed by Intermex were published by Editorial Televisa. Grupo Televisa's editorial revenues came to 1.68 billion pesos ($160.55 million) and its profit to 243.6 million pesos ($23.28 million) in 2002. Distribution came to another 1.34 billion pesos ($128.06 million) in revenues.

Principal Subsidiaries: Distribuidora Intermex, S.A. de C.V.

Principal Competitors: The Condé Nast Publications Inc.; Editorial Cinco.

Further Reading:

  • Arrate, Anne Moncreiff, "Largest Spanish Magazine Fights to Keep Competitive Edge," Miami Herald, March 3, 1997, Business Monday, pp. 20-22.
  • Fernandez, Claudia, and Andrew Paxman, El Tigre: Emilio Azcarraga y su imperio Televisa. Mexico City: Grijalbo, 2000, pp. 225+.
  • Kelly, Caitlin, "A Spanish 'Sleeping Giant' Looking Northward," Folio, November 15, 1997, pp. 14-15.
  • Levine, Felicia, "Televisa Launching Four New Magazines for U.S. Hispanics," South Florida Business Journal, December 13, 1996, pp. 3A+.
  • Liff, Mark, "Spanish-Language Magazines Begin to Soar," Advertising Age, March 19, 1984, pp. M32-M33.
  • Lockwood, Lisa, "The Latin Connection," WWD/Women's Wear Daily, March 21, 1997, p. 16.
  • Paxman, Andrew, "Publisher Grows by Trimming Fat," Variety, December 8, 1997, pp. 74-75.
  • Sutter, Mary, "Unit Hones Focus As Spanish-Lingo Pub Hub," Variety, April 1-7, 2002, p. A18.
  • Whitefield, Mimi, "La Editorial Televisa vuelve con mas fuerza, El Nuevo Herald, March 10, 2001, p. 4B.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 57. St. James Press, 2004.