LatAm pay TV slowing

March 6, 2018
According to Digital TV Research, although the economic recession waned somewhat in 2017, the Latin American pay TV sector was still ...

According to Digital TV Research, although the economic recession waned somewhat in 2017, the Latin American pay TV sector was still affected. The research house says the number of pay TV subscribers was flat year-on-year, and declines are expected.

Fewer than 5 million additional pay TV subscribers are expected between 2017 and 2023, bringing the total to almost 76 million. Pay TV penetration is not expected to climb beyond the current 44% of TV households.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: "Given its continuing economic and social problems, Brazil lost 1 million pay TV subscribers between 2015 and 2017. Its peak year of 2014 will not be bettered until 2023. Mexico recorded impressive growth in 2016, but its pay TV subscriber count fell in 2017. It will continue to decline until a slow recovery starts in 2020. The 2023 total will be just under the 2016 peak. However, it's not all bad news as Claro and Telefonica will enter Argentina and Mexico, although this is likely to involve OTT."

Mexico overtook Brazil in 2016 to become Latin America's largest pay TV market, despite Brazil having twice as many TV households as Mexico. Brazil has been losing subscribers since November 2014. However, Brazil is expected to regain top slot in 2023, though by a slim margin.

Pay TV revenues in Latin America (subscriptions and pay-per-view) are expected to grow by 1% between 2017 and 2023 to $19.74 billion. Revenues are expected to fall in 2017, 2018 and 2019 before a slow recovery begins.

Brazil ($7.01 billion in 2023) is expected to remain the top country by pay TV revenues by some distance, followed by Mexico ($2.49 billion) and Argentina ($2.49 billion). Brazilian subscription rates are much higher than Mexican ones. Brazil's 2023 total is expected to be lower than 2017 and the peak year of 2014.

Two operators dominate pay TV in Latin America. Claro/America Movil had 13.91 million pay TV subscribers (down by 500,000 on the previous year) by end-2017, and DirecTV/Sky had 21.31 million. Those two companies accounted for nearly half of the region's pay TV subs by end-2017.

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