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Latin America set for explosive digital growth

Latin American digital TV growth is set to explode beginning this year, with satellite emerging as the dominant distribution technology for pay services, according to a report from Digital TV Research.

According to Digital TV Research, digital TV penetration will grow to 45% by the end of this year, up from less than a third in 2012, and is expected to reach 84% by 2018.

In absolute numbers, 100 million digital TV homes will be added between 2011-18 in the 19 countries covered by the report, taking the total to 134 million.

According to report author Simon Murray, much of the growth is being driven by low-cost satellite-delivered pay TV services, which has benefitted from the relatively slow rollout of digital-terrestrial TV. The number of primary DTT homes will climb from 10 million at end-2012 to 22 million this year and onto 59 million by 2018. The analogue terrestrial total is expected to fall from 79 million at end-2012 to 15 million by 2018.

Pay TV penetration across the region is expected to reach 53% by 2018, up from 38% at the end of 2012.
“Much of this growth is being driven by satellite TV, especially lower-cost and prepaid packages. Nearly 19 million pay DTH households will be added between 2012 and 2018, with five million more in 2013 alone,” said Murray. “Cable operators have been slow to react to the benefits of digital TV and bundles – and the immediate threat posed after a DTH platform launches. However, this attitude is changing, with 14 million digital cable subscribers to be added between 2012 and 2018. Conversely, the number of analogue cable subscribers will fall by nine million. Cable subscribers will not automatically convert to digital cable. IPTV will climb from fewer than one million subscribers in 2012 to nearly six million by 2018.”