Central American pay-TV subscribers to hit 5.57 million by 2018

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
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Dataxis research analizes the Pay-TV market in Central America

BUENOS AIRES — The number of pay-TV subscribers in Central America and the Dominican Republic will grow from 3.58 million in 2014 to 5.57 million in 2018, according to findings in a new report published today by Dataxis.

As of 2014, pay-TV subscribers accounted for 29.4% of total TV households in Central America and the Dominican Republic, whereas 22.4% of TV households were accessing some form of illegal pay-TV system. The remaining 48.2% of TV households were still relying on free-to-air broadcasting as their exclusive source of television content.

While still recording very high levels, piracy has drastically decreased as a proportion of the total TV viewing universe. Back in 2008, for every legal pay-TV subscriber in the region there were 2.4 illegal pay-TV HHs. This ratio decreased to less than one illegal pay-TV HH per legal subscription for the first time in 2013. Dataxis projects that, by 2018, there will be less than 0.4 illegal connections per each legal subscription.

One of the driving forces behind such drastic reduction has been the rapid rate of digitalization of pay-TV services that has taken place in the region. While in 2008 only 14% of pay-TV households were subscribed to a digital package, that figure had grown to 58.5% in only six years, and was expected to reach 81.1% by 2018, according to Dataxis. Additionally, there were 533,000 customers subscribing to an HD package in the seven countries surveyed in 2014, an 86.1% growth compared with 2013.

The new Dataxis report, “Pay TV in Central America 2014-2018”, describes the noticeable transformation that the Central American pay-TV market has witnessed in recent years. “A combination of rising living standards and the emergence of global telecommunication companies that have started to set their sight on what are effectively very underserved markets with plenty of growth potential has led to a rush of new service launches, mergers and acquisitions of established operators,” said Juan Pablo Conti, Senior Analyst at Dataxis.

The report shows that Costa Rica concentrated 20.5% of total regional pay-TV subscriptions in 2014, followed by Honduras (18.9%), the Dominican Republic (15.9%) and Panama (13.7%).

The sale of pay-TV services in Central America and the Dominican Republic generated USD 857.60 million in 2014. Annual pay-TV revenue has been uninterruptedly growing in the region since 2008, and is expected to reach nearly USD 1.45 billion in 2018.