LatAm will return to pay TV subs growth in 2020

Monday, March 25th, 2019
Digital TV Research logo

Two operators dominate Latin American pay TV. América Móvil and DirecTV/Sky accounted for nearly half of the region’s pay TV subscribers by end-2018.

Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “DirecTV/Sky had 21.43 million subscribers by end-2018 – or just under 30% of the region’s total. The company has increased its base due mainly to the popularity of its prepaid offer. Slow growth will push its count to 22.18 million subs by 2024.”

Latin America Pay TV subscribers by operator - Claro (América Móvil), DIRECTV/Sky (AT&T/Vrio), Telefónica, Tigo (Millicom), Others
Source: Digital TV Research

America Movil had 13.69 million pay TV subscribers (mostly under its Claro brand) by end-2018. This is down by 890,000 since end-2016. The operator will lose subscribers again in 2019 before returning to growth from 2020. However, its 2024 total will still be lower than 2016.

Although the economic recession waned somewhat in 2017, the pay TV sector is still far from buoyant. The number of pay TV subscribers was flat year-on-year in 2018.

Only about 5 million more pay TV subscribers are expected between 2018 and 2024 – bringing the total to 77 million. Pay TV penetration will not climb beyond the current 44% of TV households.

Brazil lost 2 million pay TV subscribers between 2014 and 2018. Its peak year of 2014 will not be bettered until 2024.

Mexico has more pay TV subscribers than Brazil despite having half as many TV households. However, Mexico has lost subscribers since its peak year of 2016.

Pay TV revenues in Latin America will fall by 2.1% (or $381 million) between 2018 and 2024 to $17.82 billion.

Brazil ($5.57 billion in 2024) will remain the top country for pay TV revenues by some distance, followed by Mexico ($3.04 billion) and Argentina ($3.03 billion). However, Brazil’s 2024 total will be lower than 2018 and its peak year of 2014.