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By: Karl Misling, VP of Latin America Sales

When considering the TV landscape in Latin America, like most other concepts, many think with a myopic lens – focusing on Mexico. However, Latin America and the Caribbean is made up of 33 countries, each with its own needs when it comes to at-home entertainment, and especially Pay-TV offerings.

Within Latin America and the Caribbean, there are complex nuances between the different sub-regions and each country. From relying on old Motorola set-top boxes in the used market to pivoting to a more digital first approach with managed IPTV, no two countries have the same entertainment ecosystem and operators are looking for a flexible solution to service all their markets (or something similar). Even on a big picture level, thinking on a larger scale than just Pay-TV, each of these countries have different economic considerations, currency valuations and challenges when it comes to digitizing and modernizing their at-home entertainment capabilities.

As this market continues to rapidly grow on all fronts, Pay-TV in the region will easily surpass the U.S. market this year. In the U.S., for example, one football game in February brings our largest sporting event with over 123.4 million viewers – whereas 1.5 billion watch the World Cup worldwide or 500M in Latin American and the Caribbean. With this unprecedented growth, operators need a tailored approach for each country where they want to grow their footprint.

The Need for Old and New

Set-top boxes have long reigned supreme in many Latin American and Caribbean countries. Many countries within the market adopted the European DVB standard and because of the affordability of set-top boxes, these Pay-TV solutions have become the go-to choice and set the tone for at-home entertainment purchasing behaviors.

As smart TVs have grown in popularity across the world, the adoption in this region has been disparate, with some eagerly adopting new technology and others being slower to pivot. From national economic considerations to consumer preferences, there are a whole host of reasons for why people choose one platform over another to consume their TV content.

From Chile to the Bahamas, we are seeing a generational divide when it comes to sticking with the old and adopting the new. Older demographics are more comfortable with their set-top boxes, more resistant to the change of connected entertainment. Whereas younger demographics like Millennials and Gen Z are partial to the experience of smart TVs and streaming, in addition to consuming content on their mobile devices. But because of this, operators need to come in with an open mind and the ability to support both the old – set-top boxes – and the new – smart TVs and IPTV – depending on the particular market at hand.

Support Across the Region

Besides generational preferences, there are other challenges at play. In Chile for example, cost remains a barrier for change. This has led system operators to think outside the box and come up with economic programming bundles and source cheaper hardware for the set-top boxes. On top of this, they’ve also found ways to create customer facing interfaces which are engaging, and, in the end, help mitigate churn.

Operators in Chile and the Bahamas, among other countries in the region, are also faced with challenges around content. From people wanting to cut the cord to “pirates” stealing signals from operators, operators must compete within an incredibly competitive programming market that is not balanced. People want their video content and have little preference for how they get it as long as it’s easy to find and affordable.

So, as smart TVs become more affordable, and more content becomes available across platforms at a lower cost potentially, the case for smart TVs will grow within the region and we’ll see a move toward IPTV growth. But until then, this diverse Pay-TV landscape will continue to be the reality.

At TiVo, we are primed for this transition period within the Latin American market. From supporting video metadata customers in Latin America and the Caribbean to offering TiVo Discovery Solutions like search and recommendation, and most importantly providing support for the classic set-top boxes that will remain a staple for many, we understand the complex needs and desires of consumers in the region. As TiVo Managed IPTV Service becomes available in market, TiVo’s support within the region will only continue to grow and expand to better meet the needs of Pay-TV users and the operators that deliver them their content.


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