Next TV Series 2018: LATAM tangoes to a new pay-TV future | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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Not so long ago, the Latin American television market was characterised by low ARPU and patchy infrastructure but, as shown at the region’s leading annual industry TV industry conference, NexTV Series South America, its leaders are as engaged as any in the US and Europe to exploit the possibilities of next-gen TV technology.
cablevision flow 15 may 2018At the two-day gathering in Buenos Aires, there was a definite sense of not what could move the dial for the industry but how the global cutting-edge products and services could be deployed for maximum monetisation. For example, how paid-for linear over-the-top will change and simultaneously complement the region’s pay-TV industry; how to monetise cross-screen advertising; how to build the required and desired multiscreen OTT platforms; what strategies will be successful in the new OTT arena; how to take advantage of premium content for customer acquisition and churn reduction; and what challenges and opportunities exist as services go direct-to-consumer and à la carte.

Attempting to put all of this into perspective, Carlos Blanco, senior analyst of the Americas for Dataxis, revoked that the Latin American pay-TV market was showing clear signs of structural change, and complex diversity among its constituent nations. Indeed, even though there was an average pan-national penetration rate of 39.8% market, in terms of individual nations the story was very mixed. For example, Mexico has a pay-TV penetration of 62.3% and Argentina 64.1% while that in Brazil — the third of the three leading TV nations — was just 25.6%.

However, in terms of total share of continental subscribers this amounted to 27.5%, 25.6% and 12.4% respectively. Moreover, over the last year, Chile was the only nation that in the analyst’s opinion had shown ‘significant’ growth.

In terms of companies leading the industry, América Móvil was leading the charge with a 19.3% of business followed by AT&T/DIRECTV, Televisa, Telefónica, Cablevision, Meagcable, Dish México and Millicom.

Yet despite the healthy business generated by these firms, Blanco sounded an alarm for the traditional industry by noting that during 2017 pay-TV subscriber growth had been surpassed that of fixed broadband, indicating quite clearly the way, or platform, that households would in future access TV and video services. That is to say online. Blanco added that the conversation was already around ‘ultra’ broadband penetration rates given that in the region ‘high-speed’ broadband had already reached a maturity level. He also pointed out that in the region smartphone penetration would likely increase from 60.7% to 75.7% in the years from 2017 to 2023.

The fundamental conclusion said Blanco was that here had been ‘an amazing leap’ to the internet as regard the key enabling technology for television. Whereas in the first years of the millennium to 2006 cable was king, surpassed by satellite from 2006 to 2014, online was the dominant technology. The result he said would be that providers would have to be capable pf offering new competencies as they attempted to drive up ARPUs.

But as ever, with new competencies came new challenges. Despite the drift to online, and especially online subscription video-on-demand, Blanco cautioned that there was a particular regional issue regarding multi-person access to SVOD systems. This meant that despite there being healthy numbers of households engaged, there was not “an amazing” commensurate volume of revenues generated.