Digital TV to Explode Across Latin America by 2018

Penetration to reach almost half the homes across territories including Brazil, Mexico and Argentina with Pay-TV revenues set to hit $26.7 billion by 2018, according to a report.

LONDON -- Digital TV penetration across Latin America is set to rocket from less than a third of homes as of the end of 2012 to nearly 45 percent by end 2013 and onto 84 percent by 2018.

According to a report from Digital TV Research published April 18, 100 million digital TV households in the 19 countries covered in the Digital TV Latin America report will be added between 2011 and 2018 to take the total to 134 million.

Digital TV Research principal analyst Simon Murray said much of the growth is driven by satellite TV, "especially lower-cost and prepaid packages."

Murray said nearly 19 million pay DTH households will be added between 2012 and 2018, with five million more in 2013 alone.

"Cable operators have been slow to react to the benefits of digital TV and bundles – and the immediate threat posed after a DTH platform launches," Murray said. "However, this attitude is changing, with 14 million digital cable subscribers to be added between 2012 and 2018."

He also noted that the number of analog cable subscribers will fall by nine million and will not "automatically convert" to digital cable.

"IPTV will climb from fewer than one million subscribers in 2012 to nearly six million by 2018," Murray said.

Satellite TV has also benefited from the slow roll-out of digital terrestrial television (DTT) across Latin America with the number of primary DTT homes rising from 10 million in 2012 to 22 million this year and onto 59 million by 2018.

The analog terrestrial total will fall from 79 million at end-2012 to 15 million by 2018.

Brazil, Mexico and Argentina dominate the region.

Brazil alone will add 43 million digital TV households between 2012 and 2018, with Mexico contributing an extra 15 million, according to the research.

Pay TV penetration will rise, but not as dramatically as digital TV penetration.

Penetration will reach 53 percent by 2018, up from 38 percent at end-2012. However, this does mean 30 million more pay TV homes, with 14 million of this increase coming from Brazil and six million from Mexico.

Pay TV revenues in Latin America will be $8.5 billion higher in 2018 at $26.7 billion than 2012's $18.2 billion.

DTH will continue to be the largest pay TV platform, with revenues reaching $20.1 billion in 2018, up from $13.4 billion in 2012, according the report's projections.

Cable TV revenues will hit $5.8 billion in 2018, up from $4.8 billion in 2012.

And there are no prizes for guessing that Brazil ($10.8 billion) will be the top country in 2018, followed by Mexico ($5.8 billion) and Argentina ($2.9 billion), the report states.