Latin American pay TV set back by economic frailty

October 28, 2016  | Subscribers Only

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The Latin American pay TV business (in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina), while still not a mature business, is also not immune to the general slowdown in pay TV seen in other regions. In Q2 2016 there was a significant decline in pay TV video subscriber additions. There was a net gain of 493,740 pay TV video subscribers in Q2 2016, the weakest growth since Q1 2009. This slump was not the result of more options in the marketplace - namely OTT (over-the-top internet) products - rather the slowdown was the result of stagnating economies.


  • Latin American pay TV perfomed poorly in Q2 2016, the weakest quarter since Q1 2009 in terms of video subscriber additions
  • This slowdown was the result of struggling economies rather than cord-cutting triggered by an increase in online video option
  • Mexico surpassed Brazil as the country with the largest pay TV subscriber base in the Latam region, thanks to the stark contrast in economic growth and resulting pay TV trends in the two countries
  • IHS Markit believes the pay TV business in Latam remains fundamentally sound, with limited threat from over-the-top (OTT) services
  • IHS expects that Latam pay TV video subscribers will grow 17.4% from Q2 2016 through to the close of 2020 to reach 74.1 million
  • Pay TV growth will be even more impressive when the regional economies become healthy in the coming years
  • Cable had more net video adds than satellite in Q2 2016, a departure from the historical norm but a recent trend, thanks to satellite subscriber declines in Brazil
  • Weaker growth in satellite subscribers is not indicative of what IHS Markit believes are the long-term trends for the platform
  • Pay DTT and IPTV (niche technologies in Latam) face uphill battles, with channel capacity and infrastructure limiting the prospects for both technologies

List of tables and charts:

  • LatAm pay TV growth by country
  • Real GDP quarterly growth by country
  • Quarterly video subscriber adds
  • Pay TV quarterly net adds
  • Pay TV basic video subscribers
  • Average internet speeds
  • Quarterly net adds by platform
  • Cable video net adds by operator
  • Satellite quarterly net adds by operator

Number of pages: 7-8

Number of tables and charts: 9


Erik Brannon

Associate Director – Research and Analysis, Service Providers & Platforms

Mr. Erik Brannon, the associate director of research and analysis at IHS Markit, specializes in pay-TV operators and channels.

Harold Vargas

Senior Analyst, Television Media

Harold Vargas is a member of the US media team that is responsible for coverage of U.S. pay-TV operators and television content owning media conglomerates.

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