Samer Salameh, Director General of Mexico’s Grupo Salinas Telecom, on the potential for over-the-top (OTT) video services in Latin America, and the greater margins they present for operators keen to maximise their return on investment (ROI).
Can you briefly sum up your TV operations in Mexico?
Grupo Salinas founded and launched Totalplay in Mexico, a quadruple-play service which includes an IPTV-based pay-TV offering.
Totalplay is now part of Grupo IUSACell, a 50/50 joint venture between Grupo Salinas and [Mexican mass media company] Televisa.
Totalmovie.com was created as an OTT extension of Totalplay. It is now a standalone company that offers a subscription VOD service in 43 countries.
While the IPTV and OTT services remain separate offerings, there is clearly an industry trend toward convergence of offerings like these.
OTT video seems well suited for mass adoption in Latin America. How does the ROI compare to pay-TV delivery?
I could not agree more. OTT is well suited for mass adoption in Latin America. Totalmovie.com has done exceptionally well, now holding the #2 position in the region (after that US company with a red logo from Los Gatos, California).
I believe that we can achieve much greater margins for OTT video than traditional pay-TV operators, especially with the roll-out of LTE networks in the next few years, given the simple fact we do not face the legacy and future network capital costs pay-TV operators have.
How do you hope to expand your content line-up in the coming 12 months?
We have closed direct studio deals with Disney, Fox, Sony, MGM and a number of independent studios. We expect to have the best subscription video offering in the region before the close of 2012.
What other markets do you see being as ripe for entry?
North America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia… I am being a bit facetious of course!
This OTT video space feels like the early days of the Internet (I was the CEO of an early ISP called Prodigy in the 1990s). The opportunities are similarly limitless.