Imagen Televisión is a national broadcast television network in Mexico, owned by Grupo Imagen. It launched on October 17, 2016, at 8 p.m.
In 2006, Imagen's parent, Grupo Empresarial Ángeles, acquired XHRAE-TV channel 28 in Mexico City from its previous owner, beleaguered businessman Raúl Aréchiga Espinoza, for US$126 million. Imagen already owned radio stations in Mexico City and other major cities nationwide. The next year, GEA relaunched the station as "cadenatres", with the ambition of functioning as Mexico's third broadcast network. Despite this and national basic cable carriage, cadenatres only had a handful of local affiliates. On October 26, 2015, cadenatres was shuttered and replaced with news outlet Excélsior TV as Imagen began preparing to launch its national network.
In 2014, the Federal Telecommunications Institute began a bidding process to make available packages of new national television networks. Two packages were available, each containing 123 transmitters. Three bidders continued to the final round: Grupo Imagen, under the name Cadena Tres I, S.A. de C.V.; Grupo Radio Centro; and Organización Editorial Mexicana (Centro de Información Nacional de Estudios Tepeyac, S.A. de C.V.), which operates the ABC Radio network. OEM dropped out unexpectedly just days before the death of its CEO, Mario Vázquez Raña, paving the way for Cadena Tres I and GRC to be declared the winning bidders on March 11, 2015. Imagen paid 1.808 billion pesos for the concession. Radio Centro, whose bid was significantly higher, subsequently ran into financial problems and dropped out, paying only the security deposit; thus, Imagen would be the only new national network created as the result of the bidding process. The concessions held by Imagen bind them to two coverage clauses; they must serve 30 percent of the population in each of the 32 Mexican federative entities by March 2018, and within five years of the concession award, all 123 transmitters must be on air. Imagen's CEO, Olegario Vázquez Aldir, also announced a planned investment of 10 billion pesos to build out the network over 36 to 40 months. Some of this investment went into building Ciudad Imagen (Imagen City), a new facility in the Copilco neighborhood of Mexico City with 46,000 square metres (500,000 sq ft) of floor space, five studios for entertainment programs, a sixth for news, and three radio studios.
In October 2015, Imagen was approved to relocate all stations planned to be built above channel 36, in order to facilitate the repacking of television spectrum. Several other transmitters changed allocated channels as a result.
The first of the launch transmitters to come to air was the Mexico City station, XHCTMX-TDT, which signed on with color bars on August 19, 2016. In late September, the launch date was announced as Monday, October 17, and Imagen unveiled a new corporate logo designed by Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, a New York-based graphic design firm, which will also serve as the network's logo. In addition, the name of the network, Imagen Televisión, was formally announced, along with the initial slogan Juntos Somos Libres; Vázquez Aldir cited the desire to not merely be "the third network" and to have a more forward-looking moniker as reasons to bypass the Cadena Tres name. The launch makes Imagen the first new national commercial network to begin operations in Mexico since the privatization of Imevisión and resultant creation of Televisión Azteca in 1993.
Vázquez Aldir described Imagen's programming approach as "a family channel, with a focus on women".
Imagen's first two original telenovelas, produced in collaboration with Argos Comunicación and Estudios TeleMéxico, were Vuelve temprano and Perseguidos. The latter was originally known as El Capo (The Drug Lord) but was changed, potentially to prevent a reclassification of the program that would have required it to air after midnight. The network also picked up two Brazilian series, José de Egipto (Joseph of Egypt) and Reglas del Juego, and the Colombian novela Lady, la vendedora de rosas.
Imagen Televisión features three weekday newscasts. Ciro Gómez Leyva, who hosts a Radio Fórmula morning show and formerly worked for Televisa and CNI Canal 40, hosts the network's flagship late news. Francisco Zea hosts the network's morning show, while Yuriria Sierra anchors its afternoon newscast at 2pm.
Imagen holds the rights to broadcast two Liga MX soccer clubs, its co-owned Querétaro FC and Jaguares de Chiapas, though it subleased much of those rights to SKY México as the network was not on air. Both clubs' home matches will generally air on Saturdays at 5pm. The first soccer match to air on Imagen was a Querétaro fixture against Club América on October 22. For the Clausura 2017 tournament, Imagen began carrying Club León and C.F. Pachuca fixtures as well.
One regular sports program airs on Imagen, a Sunday night discussion program titled Adrenalina.
Imagen Televisión, through Cadena Tres I, S.A. de C.V., is currently authorized to operate 45 transmitters for 44 stations covering parts of all Mexican states. 38 transmitters were on air at launch. The transmitters launched on air are primarily in state capitals, densely populated cities, and those that contribute most to the national gross domestic product. The transmitter network has primarily been deployed using preexisting public and commercial infrastructure, notably including towers owned by the Sistema Público de Radiodifusión del Estado Mexicano (SPR), Canal Once, MVS Radio, and several of Imagen's own radio stations. Each callsign represents the primary city listed in the IFT-defined coverage areas, though in several cases, Imagen built the transmitter in another, larger city within the coverage area—sometimes in another state.
Almost all stations have been allotted virtual channel 3, though one on the border region with the United States was tentatively given virtual channel 13 until the IFT coordinates with the US Federal Communications Commission.
|18||3||XHCTAG-TDT||Aguascalientes, Ags.||100 kW|
|17||3||XHCTME-TDT||Mexicali, B.C.||150 kW|
|33||3||XHCTTI-TDT||Tijuana, B.C.||132.148 kW|
|22||3||XHCTLP-TDT||La Paz, B.C.S.|
|20||3||XHCTCA-TDT||Campeche, Camp.||50 kW|
|29||3||XHCTTH-TDT||Tapachula, Chis.||54.192 kW|
|27||3||XHCTCR-TDT||Tuxtla Gutiérrez-San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chis.||40 kW|
|29||3||XHCTCH-TDT||Chihuahua, Chih.||52.761 kW|
|31||3||XHCTCJ-TDT||Ciudad Juárez, Chih.||150 kW|
|29||3||XHCTMX-TDT||Mexico City||295.411 kW|
|26||3||XHCTSA-TDT||Saltillo, Coah.||50 kW|
|24||3||XHCTTR-TDT||Torreón, Coah.||160 kW|
|27||3||XHCTCO-TDT||Colima, Col.||50 kW|
|24||3||XHCTDG-TDT||Durango, Dgo.||37.485 kW|
|26||3||XHCTLE-TDT||León, Gto.||10 kW|
|21||3||XHCTAC-TDT||Acapulco, Gro.||30 kW|
|25||3||XHCTCP-TDT||Chilpancingo, Gro.||20 kW|
|16||3||XHCTIX-TDT||Ixmiquilpan-Pachuca, Hgo.||20 kW|
|28||3||XHCTGD-TDT||Guadalajara, Jal.||100 kW|
|14||3||XHCTTO-TDT||Toluca, Mex.||26.261 kW|
|34||3||XHCTMO-TDT||Morelia, Mich.||50 kW|
|36||3||XHCTUR-TDT||Uruapan, Mich.||0.5 kW|
|23||3||XHCTCU-TDT||Cuernavaca, Mor.||80 kW|
|22||3||XHCTNY-TDT||Tepic, Nay.||20 kW|
|22||3||XHCTMY-TDT||Monterrey, N.L.||130 kW|
|16||3||XHCTOX-TDT||Oaxaca, Oax.||120 kW|
|21||3||XHCTPU-TDT||Puebla, Pue.||100 kW|
|15||3||XHCTCY-TDT||Celaya, Gto.-Querétaro, Qro.||150 kW|
|22||3||XHCTCN-TDT||Cancún, Q. Roo||60 kW|
|33||3||XHCTSL-TDT||San Luis Potosí, S.L.P.||29.743 kW|
|33||3||XHCTCI-TDT||Culiacán, Sin.||100 kW|
|33||3||XHCTLM-TDT||Los Mochis, Sin.||50.496 kW|
|21||3||XHCTMZ-TDT||Mazatlán, Sin.||34.656 kW|
|24||3||XHCTOB-TDT||Ciudad Obregón, Son.||120 kW|
|28||3||XHCTHE-TDT||Hermosillo, Son.||100 kW|
|36||3||XHCTVL-TDT||Villahermosa, Tab.||100 kW|
|20||3||XHCTVI-TDT||Ciudad Victoria, Tamps.||20.248 kW|
|35||3||XHCTNL-TDT||Nuevo Laredo, Tamps.||143 kW|
|22||13||XHCTRM-TDT||Reynosa-Matamoros, Tamps.||145.552 kW
|25||3||XHCTTA-TDT||Tampico, Tamps.||100 kW|
|26||3||XHCTCZ-TDT||Cerro Azul, Ver.||10 kW|
|16||3||XHCTLV-TDT||La Venta, Tab.-Coatzacoalcos, Ver.||80 kW|
|25||3||XHCTVE-TDT||Veracruz, Ver.||25 kW|
|20||3||XHCTJA-TDT||Xalapa, Ver.||20 kW|
|22||3||XHCTMD-TDT||Mérida, Yuc.||60 kW|
|27||3||XHCTZA-TDT||Zacatecas, Zac.||92.942 kW|