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The challenges and opportunities ahead in LATAM video in 2024

It looks set to be another busy year in the LATAM video market in 2024 as providers continue to react to the changes sweeping the industry.

vo latam 2024

2024 is shaping up to be another busy year in LATAM as the industry continues to evolve, and telcos, ISPs, and broadcasters across the region look to capitalize on new technologies and opportunities. 

As far as predictions for the region goes, according to the latest market surveys Pay-TV subs will remain flat at somewhere between 53-54 million between now and 2029. Given the contraction we are seeing elsewhere in the world, this can be considered a strong performance, and we are seeing increasing interest from broadcasters looking to deploy Broadcast 2.0 solutions into the market. More of that later on.

OTT provides the biggest success story. Currently, LATAM has 110 million SVOD subscriptions. This is forecast to grow to 165 million by the end of 2029, at a CAGR of close to 7%. Digital TV Research forecasts that the seven big US platforms ( Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Star+, Paramount+, Apple TV+ and Max, who are all very active in the region) will account for 83% of that number. But while they dominate the market, that means there will still be over 28 million subscriptions to play for in local services. And, of course, with the growth in super aggregation we are seeing from interested parties everywhere, those subs to the big US streamers can be bundled in to locally offered services.

It is important to remember that localisation is a key part of the market in LATAM, not only in term of Spanish and Portuguese language content, but also in terms of reflecting regional interests. The audiences in each country demand local news and sports, novellas and more. And, ideally, when a major event occurs such as this year’s Summer Olympics, they are also looking for local interpretation and analysis of the action.

Local operators, and local broadcasters in particular, fill important niches in their territories, with many having a storied heritage, still commanding large audiences, and playing an important part in their nation’s cultural fabric.

A whistle-stop LATAM overview

To provide a quick overview of such a complex region is no easy task. Starting with Colombia (we initially wrote this in the week before Andina Link) the mood is very positive. The government is incentivizing ISPs to grow, with the launch of new TV services very much a part of that picture. This is creating a highly competitive landscape which is prioritizing market agility and will see a host of new services launched this year.

The picture across the rest of the region is complicated somewhat by politics, but there are hopeful signs that the video market can start to grow once more in some countries as stability returns. Big multinational telcos dominate the landscape, and it is interesting to see the way they are shuffling their subsidiaries, disposing of assets in some countries and acquiring new ones in others. If there is common ground between them though it is in that most are looking to update their platforms to take advantage of the many developments in streaming technologies since the first wave of devices hit the market in the 2010s. The demand is for sophisticated recommendations, Multi-DRM, audience segmentation, cross-device apps, content aggregation, and more. 

Which brings us to broadcasters. We are seeing increasing interest from the broadcast market which is looking to maximise the monetisation potential of its own B2C offerings with targeted advertising. It is also looking to safeguard its investment in content as well, with a definite spike of interest in both watermarking and anti-piracy services as sports rights remain both high cost but essential expenditure for many.

That also all has to be understood in the context of a movement towards Broadcast 2.0 and the transition away from linear broadcast services and standards towards the digital age.

OTT and IP-based services have simply become essential to compete. Broadcasters need to reach consumers where they consume content, and that means any location and any device. That requires a reframing in turn of legacy OTT platforms, transforming them from secondary considerations to being at the forefront of broadcastersstrategy. These platforms must be enhanced in turn to support advanced, data-driven customer analysis and associated engagement mechanisms.

The speed of technological progress in the consumer space is dizzying. The broadcasters we speak to are very aware that they cannot afford to be see as the ones supplying ‘dumb’ services in comparison.

Opportunities from north to south

New technologies and capabilities, of course, lead to new opportunities, and not just for broadcasters. Staying in the Americas but moving north, we are starting to see increasing activity in the US as private companies take the initiative to ‘fiber up’ new neighborhoods, often defined sections of established cities. Video services are going to be a central part of the offering to the communities there. And in Mexico we are seeing a surge of interest in sports streaming, with close ties to sports betting an increasingly important component of the discussions and very much requiring low latency services as a prerequisite.

These are exciting times for an industry very much still in motion, with ISPs and telcos looking to unlock new value from the next generation of devices and services, and broadcasters looking towards Broadcast 2.0 and meeting the requirements of the new generation of digital native consumers. There are challenges ahead, of course, but as the discussions we have had in Cartagena and at NABShow prove, there are many opportunities as well.

Carlos Ramos

As the VP of business development for the Americas at Viaccess-Orca, Carlos Ramos plays an integral role in driving new business. Prior to working at Viaccess-Orca, Ramos has held leadership positions at a variety of companies in the telecom industry. Most recently, Carlos Ramos worked as vice president of engineering at Olympusat and was responsible for OTT design, sourcing and launching over 70 linear channels and thousands of hours of VOD content. Prior to that, he held positions at Telefonica and Cenitgram, a company that specializes in voicemail, SMS and prepaid systems for telcos. Ramos has a B.S. in electronic engineering from the University of Simon Bolivar in Caracas.