Editor’s Note: Welcome to our weekly feature, Analyst Angle. We’ve collected a group of the industry’s leading analysts to give their outlook on the hot topics in the wireless industry.
With 48.9 million subscribers and an average household penetration rate over 32.1% in 2011, the Latin American pay-TV market is still growing strong, even in mature markets such as Argentina (69%), Puerto Rico (50%) and Chile (45%). Brazil, which is expected to add more than 10.4 million subscribers between 2012 and 2017, will be a key growth driver, followed by Mexico (3.6m), Colombia (1.5m) and Argentina (1.1m).
While cable TV still accounts for the bulk of the pay-TV subscriptions on a regional level, it will continue to lose ground to direct-to-home (DTH) satellite, which we expect to become the most popular pay-TV platform in the region by 2017. This is thanks to its ability to reach areas not yet covered by other technologies, and by doing so at very competitive prices.
For example, pan-American DTH service providers, such as Dish and DIRECTV, have been aggressively promoting entry and pay-TV packages in the region, thus rapidly gaining market share in countries like Mexico and Argentina. In countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Puerto Rico, DTH subscriptions have already overtaken cable, and we expect Venezuela and Paraguay to follow the same path by 2017.
Despite recent favorable changes in Brazil’s pay-TV regulations, IPTV will remain an underrepresented technology in the region, with an expected household penetration rate of 0.6% in 2012 and 3.1% in 2017.
Total pay-TV revenue in Latin America is expected to grow at a 6.5 percent combined annual growth rate (CAGR), from $15.7 billion in 2012 to $21.4 billion in 2017. With 8.9 percent annual growth, DTH will be the fastest growing revenue category during the 2012-2017 period, narrowing the gap with cable and contributing 47% of the total pay-TV revenue by 2017.
Despite its sluggish subscriber growth, cable will continue to be the largest revenue contributor throughout the entire forecast period, growing at a 2.6% annual rate from 2012-2017, supported by analog subscribers upgrading to digital cable.