Strong IPTV growth in Latin America projected amid digital-TV takeover

IPTV is taking off in Latin America, and Colombia is leading the way, according to a report from British firm Digital TV Research, which predicted the number of homes paying for IPTV will take off from a very low base to reach 4.8 million by 2017.

While this represents only 4 percent of TV households, it's a start and it's probably coming at the expense of more traditional cable-TV penetration, which is expected to be about 16.6 percent by 2017, increasing only 29 percent between 2011 and that end point.

Colombia leads the IPTV penetration parade, with about 7 percent of all households by 2017, followed by Chile, which should have about 6 percent IPTV penetration. IPTV revenues will hit $741 million, up from $83 million in 2011, the Digital TV Latin America report continued.

For cable, the big numbers belong to Argentina, which will have about 33 percent of all subscribers. Digital cable-TV revenues will still be far higher than IPTV, as they climb, from $2.8 billion in 2011, to $4.8 billion in 2017. Analog-TV numbers will drop, from $2.8 billion, to $1.4 billion with digital passing analog in 2013, the report said.

Overall, DTH digital TV will be Latin America's big player in the years up to 2017. The report said that of 63 million digital homes added to the subscriber lists between 2011 and 2017, 15 million will be DTH, 14.5 million will be digital cable and 4.3 million will be IPTV.

"DTH subscriptions have overtaken cable in both Brazil and Mexico," said Simon Murray, the report's author, in a news release. "Brazil, the largest market in the region, will add nearly 28 million digital TV households across all platforms between 2011 and 2017 to take its total to 47 million. Mexico will provide a further 17 million to reach 26 million."

Even so, the report noted that digital TV will still be in a growth mode transforming 33 million homes that are still analog in 2017. Puerto Rico is expected to be the first country to reach complete digital conversion, accomplishing the feat in 2015.

Other statistics in the report indicate that pay TV penetration--again led by DTH--will hit the 50 percent mark in 2017 (from 2011's 35 percent). Interestingly, as more than half of the increase is expected to come from Brazil, Argentina should lead the pack with 74 percent pay-TV penetration while Brazil settles out at only 41 percent.

For more:
 -  see the Digital TV Research release

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