95% of Latin American TV households digital by 2020

Nearly 95% of all TV households in Latin America will be digital by 2020, up from just 18% in 2010 and just over half today, new research forecasts.

In its Digital TV Latin America report, Digital TV Research said more than 130 new digital TV households will have been added between 2010 and 2020, bringing the total in the region to 157 million.

Brazil alone will add 37 million digital TV households between 2013 and 2020, with Mexico (15 million) and Argentina (7 million) among the top three in new digital TV households.

Sixteen additional countries covered in this report will add a total of 34 million digital homes between 2013 and 2020.

“Much of this growth is being driven by satellite TV, especially lower-cost and prepaid packages,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, adding that those subscribers are forcing down average ARPU figures.”

Penetration of pay-TV services also will rise, but not as dramatically as digital TV penetration, Murray said.

The region’s current pay-TV penetration stands at 41%, up from 29% in 2010. Murray said that by 2020, just more than half (53%) of TV homes will buy pay TV.

Some 28 million more pay TV homes will be added between 2013 and 2020, taking the total to 89 million. Brazil will provide 11.6 million of these additions and Mexico 6.4 million. Puerto Rico will record 84% pay-TV penetration by 2020, with five countries above 70%. However, three countries will be below 40%.

Latin American pay-TV revenues are forecast to be $24.7 billion, up $4.5 billion in 2020 than in 2013.

Satellite TV is expected to maintain its dominance in the region, as networks remain somewhat problematic. Revenues are forecast to reach $17.6 billion in 2020, up from $14.2 billion in 2013. Cable TV revenues will be $6.1 billion in 2020, up from $4.8 billion in 2013.

Nearly 14.4 million pay satellite TV households will be added between 2013 and 2020, with 3.1 million more in 2014 alone. Pay satellite TV penetration will grow from 9.6% in 2010 to 21.1% by end-2014 and onto 25.8% in 2020 – indicating that much of the fast growth has already taken place.

While pay satellite TV is the leading digital platform, primary FTA DTT will overtake it in 2015.

The number of primary DTT homes will rocket from 4.3 million at end-2010 (3.0% penetration) to 27.1 million in 2014 (18.0%) and onto 71.1 million by 2020 (42.7%).

There are signs that the economic boom may be faltering. The predicted economic slowdown in China has had an adverse knock-on effect for exports in Latin America, especially in countries such as Argentina.

The positives are that Brazil is hosting both the World Cup (2014) and the Summer Olympics (2016), which will boost infrastructure build-out.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn