Pay TV Poised for Growth in Central America


BUENOS AIRES: The number of households that subscribe to a pay-TV service in Central America is expected to reach 4.4 million by 2018, according to analysis by Dataxis.

In the six largest markets in the region, pay-TV subscriptions grew from 21.4 percent of TV households to 31.3 percent of homes between 2008 and 2012. This means that there were 2.6 million pay-TV subs in 2012 compared to 1.5 million in 2008. Dataxis expects growth to continue, predicting that by 2018 more than 40 percent of households in the region, or 4.4 million homes, will subscribe to a pay-TV service.

Costa Rica was found to be the largest pay-TV market in the region, followed by Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Cable TV is the dominant platform for these pay-TV services in Central America, with 81.3 percent of all legal pay-TV accounts. This is down from the 94.3 percent reported in 2008. Satellite operators increased their share in the region from 5.6 percent in 2008 to 18.5 percent in 2012. Dataxis is forecasting this to rise to 28.4 percent. Toward 2018, it is expected that 93.1 percent of the pay-TV subs in the regional would be subscribed to some digital option. Dataxis says that DTH is the option with the greatest growth potential in the region; in 2018 it will amount to almost 60 percent of subscribers.

Carlos Slim’s América Móvil (operating as Claro) is now the largest provider of pay-TV subscriptions in the region. The operator increased its market share from 10.1 percent to nearly 28 percent from 2008 to 2012. Millicom (operating at Tigo) has now been bumped to second, with 21.1 percent of pay-TV subs.

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