Mexican broadcaster Televisa will add content from network Telemundo to its pay channels as it strengthens links with the U.S. No. 2 Spanish-language television company to boost viewership.

Starting this weekend, Televisa will air Telemundo's soap operas and contest shows in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, Jose Baston, president of Televisa's television and content, said on Thursday.

The companies declined to give details on the advertising revenue expected from the venture. Some Telemundo shows are already being aired on one Televisa channel in Mexico.

Televisa, which has a long-standing programming deal with Univision, Telemundo's rival in the United States, has landed some deals with the NBC Universal unit in recent years in a bid to increase its exposure among U.S. Hispanic viewers.

Hispanics make up about 15 percent of the U.S. population.

Televisa's U.S. expansion was hampered by a long legal battle with partner Univision as the Mexican company tried to get more money from its shows aired in the United States, while the U.S. company tried to keep the programs that generated the bulk of its prime-time ratings.

Both partners settled in courts in January.

Televisa lost a second court fight over Internet rights earlier this month and was banned from streaming TV programs over the Web in the United States that it had already licensed to Univision. Televisa said it would appeal this decision.

LONG BATTLE

While Televisa sparred in courts against Univision, it landed some deals with Telemundo, part of General Electric's empire (GE.N), including broadcasting soccer matches in the United States and airing some Telemundo shows on Televisa's digital services in Mexico.

Telemundo unsuccessfully tried to tap the Mexican market in the past and flirted with the idea of launching a network that would have directly competed against Televisa and TV Azteca, Mexico's No. 2 broadcaster.

Its efforts, which caused a political stir, were thwarted by the Mexican government's inability to produce a spectrum auction to carry an additional nationwide network.

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