Linear pay TV grew 4,5% in Latin America during 2017

According to data compiled by Prensario, the Latin American linear pay television market expanded by 4,5 percent in 2017, reaching 7,847 million subscribers compared to 75,05 million at Year End 2016.

This increase has been obtained due to strong expansion in Mexico, which leads the region with some 22,72 million subscribers (28,9% of the total), and the emergence of formerly marginal markets, such as Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia. Argentina appears to be at a maximum of its capacity and grows at demographic levels (signaled by the percentage of new dwellings built every year), while Brazil fell by 1,7% due to its economy situation and Venezuela (lost 4,3% of its End-2016 base.

The Mexico growth has been first attributed to a 31 December 2015 analog television switch-off that left some 3 million low income households without access to TV, moving many of them to subscribe to pay TV instead of purchasing a digital TV set or a converter. More recently, it has been credited to strong promotional campaigns and low prices by DTH providers Sky (controlled by Televisa and AT&T) and Dish (controlled by MVS and Dish Network).

Brazil lost official track of its official pay television subscriber count in May, when an alleged snafu at its computing system apparently disrupted official statistics managed by local watchdog Anatel, so far not restored. Data about broadband subscribers did not suffer and Anatel has continued providing it, with positive figures: 6,7% growth.

Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay retain a high degree of illegal connections and underreporting, which makes it difficult to reach realistic data, but these countries became more important when stagnation affected others. In Colombia, a more than 2 million subscriber difference emerges when comparing audience and penetration data with official subscriber accounts from local watchdog ANTV.

Argentina retains its strength: despite the rise of Netflix (as in Mexico, Brazil and Colombia); the local industry has managed to retain its penetration levels (in the order of 78% and an estimation of 11% illegal or undetected underreported connections), in many cases linking proposals to broadband offerings that allow its subscribers to connect to Netflix and other OTT providers. Telcos Telefónica and America Móvil have been allowed to provide linear television in some cities as of 1 January 2018, but this is not expected to enlarge the existing market, just provide customer migration chances.

Chile has returned to growth (5,7%) after a couple of years of rather flat results, while Uruguay expanded at an attractive rate due to stable economy and an increase in housing for tourists in Punta del Este city and the Atlantic coast.