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LatAm digital TV to double

News, 18 March 2015

LATIN AMERICA: The number of digital TV households in Latin America will double to 152m by 2020, according to a new report.

Digital TV Latin America Forecasts, from London-based Digital TV Research said that slowing economic growth across the region would not hinder the growing penetration of digital TV, which currently stands at just over 50% and is expected to hit 93.6% by 2020.

This is despite few of the 19 countries covered in the report completing conversion to digital. Puerto Rico was the first to do so, in 2014, but by 2020 Panama and Uruguay will be the only other countries to have achieved this.

The greatest absolute increase will come in Brazil, where 28.3m digital TV households will be added between 2014 and 2020, bringing the total there to 63.5m. During the same period Mexico will contribute an extra 10.9m for a total of 27.7m.

Fastest growth is expected to come in Central America and the Caribbean which together will increase the number of digital households by some 145% to 11.9m.

The Andean countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela will also more than double, rising 113% to 29.4m. The southern cone – Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay – will grow more slowly, at 71%, to a total of 19.4m digital households.

Pay satellite TV is projected to add another 10m or so households between 2014 and 2020, but the report suggested that this technology has already passed through its period of fast growth and would be overtaken by free-to-air digital terrestrial television in the next couple of years.

In fact, the report predicted that primary free-to-air digital terrestrial television would overtake pay satellite TV as the leading digital platform in 2016, with the number of primary DTT homes hitting 68m in 2020, representing 41.9% penetration, compared to the 25% achieved by pay satellite.

Digital cable penetration is forecast to hit 20% by 2020, and while IPTV numbers will grow fivefold the total will remain small at just 6.8m.

Finally, total Pay TV revenues in Latin America are expected to increase by $2.6bn by 2020, with satellite TV continuing to be the largest pay TV platform, with revenues of $16.7bn.

Data sourced from Digital TV Research; additional content by Warc staff