Azteca America extends LMA of LA flagship


Pappas Telecasting won’t be converting KAZA-TV (Ch. 54) Los Angeles to its own TuVisión network this year after all. Azteca America announced that it has cut a deal with Pappas to extend its LMA through December 2012. The agreement does provide for TuVisión to be carried on a DTV multicast channel (DTV Ch. 47, by the way).

When Pappas launched TuVisión last fall (9/24/07 TVBR #186) after earlier dropping its Azteca America affiliations in several markets, the group owner said it would convert KAZA to the new network once the LMA with Azteca America ran its course in 2008. Now, though, Azteca America has succeeded in retaining its US flagship station through December 2012 by adjusting and extending the terms of a financial agreement under which 129 million is payable by Pappas Telecasting to Azteca America. Just how the terms were modified was not disclosed.

"The agreement ensures a long term presence in the nation’s largest and most important US Hispanic market at favorable conditions. It consolidates our solid market positioning, and allows to continue adding increased value for the network, and steadily raise overall profitability," said Adrian Steckel, President and CEO of Azteca America.

TVBR observation: With the analog signal of KAZA and every other full-power US television station set to be terminated in 2009, the key will be cable carriage, even more so than today. So, if Pappas can get the major cable systems in the LA market to carry its TuVisión channel, it won’t matter much whether it is the primary DTV channel or one of the additional multicast digital channels. Don’t forget, Pappas Telecasting is currently exploring the sale of some of its stations, without specifying which ones (12/20/07 TVBR #247), so we expect to be hearing more news from the company.