Central America pay TV set for growth

Pay TV use in Central America is set to reach 4.4 million by 2018, with the biggest players and satellite operators set to take more market share, new research predicts.

Dataxis says that, in the four years between 2008 and 2012, the region’s six largest markets saw combined pay TV subscriptions grow from 21.4% of TV households to be available in 31.3% of homes. This meant 2.6 million pay TV accounts in 2012 compared with 1.5 million at the end of 2008 – an increase of almost 1.15 million.

The figures, compiled last month, suggest that Central America, which traditionally has had low pay-TV take-up, is starting to catch up with other more developed Latin American markets.

Dataxis expects this growth to continue over the medium term. By 2018, it predicts that over 40% of TV households in the region – 4.4m – will subscribe to a pay-TV service.

Costa Rica continued as the largest pay-TV market in Central America, says Dataxis, with 647,000 customers, followed by Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Carlos Slim-owned América Móvil (operating as Claro) was now the largest provider of pay-TV subscriptions, according to Dataxis. The operator rapidly increased its regional market share from 10.1% to nearly 28% between 2008 and 2012. América Móvil has now displaced Millicom (operating as Tigo) as the leading operator, which holds just over 21.1% of pay TV subscriptions.

Dataxis senior analyst Juan Pablo Conti said: “While in 2008, the top-10 pay-TV groups in Central America concentrated 69% of the market, by 2012 the 10 largest groups controlled over 83% of all accounts. This emphasises the way in which the industry has been consolidating in the region, a process that is far from over.”

Cable television was found to be the dominant platform for delivering Central American pay-TV services, with 81.3% of all legal pay-TV accounts belonging to cable operators. However, this was down from 94.3% in 2008.

Satellite operators had increased their regional market share from 5.6% in 2008 to 18.5% in 2012. Dataxis predicts that this figure will rise to 28.4%, pushing cable share down to 70.7%.

Dataxis research: Pay TV in Central America, 2012-2018.


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