Understand and measure the impact of COVID-19 on the telecom industry!

Virus impact over each market - telecom operators, government agencies and regulators' responses - revised forecasts for the next 5 years.

See updated country reports

2009 Latin American Convergence, Pay TV and Digital Media Market

Report Cover Image

Last updated: 15 Jul 2009 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 115

Analyst: Lucia Bibolini

Publication Overview

This report covers developments in the Convergence, Pay TV and Digital Media Market of Latin America and the Caribbean The countries covered in this report include: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the small Caribbean island nations.


Researchers:- Lucia Bibolini and Lawrence Baker

Current publication date:- July 2009 (8th Edition)

Next publication date:- August 2010

Executive Summary

Convergence offers promising prospects in Latin America and the Caribbean, a continent with about 577 million people, a soaring broadband sector, low teledensity, relatively high TV penetration, and a growing VoIP market.


Convergence, however, has created a number of challenges for regulators, forcing them to revisit outdated laws in view of technological advances. In some countries, the broadcast and telecom industries are regulated by entirely separate authorities that do not always see eye to eye when it comes to convergence. As pay TV operators seek to branch into high-speed Internet and cable telephony, and telecom operators seek to add pay TV to their broadband and telephony services, these previously separate regulatory authorities must cooperate or merge to create a transparent and logical regulatory framework.


One of the consequences of triple play is the start of competition between cable TV and telecom operators. This is, of course, beneficial for customers, who have a greater choice between service providers. But in many countries, issues of market balance and fear of losing market share to competition have led to lengthy regulatory battles, involving cable TV companies, telecom operators, and regulatory authorities.


Although the region’s pay TV market is still small, the long-term outlook is positive, particularly in view of convergence opportunities, the gradual upgrading of cable networks from analogue to digital, and the efforts to reduce signal piracy.


Nevertheless, pay TV in Latin America is beginning to suffer from the global economic downturn; the setback, however, is expected to be temporary. A more serious threat for cable and satellite TV operators will come eventually from IPTV, although bandwidth shortage and the lack of FTTx infrastructure are likely to delay widespread IPTV take-up.


Cable TV subscribers and penetration in major Latin American countries – 2007 - 2008




Annual change

Penetration per capita

Household penetration












































(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data with BuddeComm estimates)


Key highlights:


In terms of pay TV penetration, Argentina is a world leader, with more than one home out of two being subscribed to pay TV services, but media convergence suffers from regulatory battles involving the government, pay TV companies, and telecom operators. According to Argentinean law, a telecom company is not allowed to offer pay TV, and must ally with a CATV operator if it wants to offer converged services. Telcos have been urging the government to reform the Argentine telecoms law to facilitate media convergence. The Cable TV Operators’ Association, on the other hand, has urged the government not to allow telcos into the pay TV sector – at least not until CATV companies have completed the digitisation of their networks. It claims that the telecom incumbents would take over the pay TV market and push CATV companies out of business.



In Brazil, delay in legislating on the matter of convergence has led to much confusion and conflict, involving pay TV companies, telecom operators, and regulatory authorities. Incumbent telcos have been forcing the issue by entering the pay TV market before receiving authorisation to do so. Although regulatory questions still await resolution, both pay TV and telephone companies have been active in developing convergence strategies, and several operators offer triple or quadruple play packages. The market leader is Net Serviços de Comunicação, controlled by Mexico’s Telmex; in fact, Net is the largest multi-service cable TV provider in Latin America, with a bundled video, broadband, and voice service in 79 Brazilian cities. Brazil was the second country in Latin America to adopt a digital TV standard; digital terrestrial TV was launched in December 2007, but is experiencing slow uptake.



Mexico’s main cable TV providers, Megacable, Cablemás, and Cablevisión, are active in the triple play market, with offerings of bundled cable TV, broadband, and telephony; as a result, their broadband subscriber base and in particular their VoIP subscriber numbers witnessed healthy growth during 2007 and 2008. Telmex has claimed to have lost over 50% of the voice market in areas where cable companies offer triple play services. In 2007, it requested to have its own licence modified to include pay TV services, but in late 2008, it entered into an agreement with the newly constituted Dish Mexico to distribute DTH satellite TV services. Mexico was the first country in Latin America to launch digital terrestrial TV; by early 2009 there were an estimated 38 digital channels.


Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

Related Reports

Share this Report

Purchase with Confidence

As you know, I have resigned from the Labor Ministry and have decided not to re-contest the seat of Charlton at the next election – both for personal reasons.

Before leaving Parliament, I particularly wish to record my thanks to you for your generous and constructive participation in the deliberations that generated significant economic policy reforms for the Australian community. Continuous economic transformation is a key challenge that faces all Governments.

The development of sound public policy should always be contestable. Ultimately, good and equitable outcomes are not concessions to any particular interest group, but the careful balancing of interests to create the greatest possible benefit for the nation. You have contributed to that, and I sincerely thank you for it.

Greg Combet, Former Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation

Research Methodology

BuddeComm's strategic business reports contain a combination of both primary and secondary research statistics, analyses written by our senior analysts supported by a network of experts, industry contacts and researchers from around the world as well as our own scenario forecasts.

For more details, please see:

Research Methodology

Sample Reports

A selection of downloadable samples from our Annual Publications catalogue.

Download a Sample Report

More than 4,000 customers from 140 countries utilise BuddeComm Research

Are you interested in BuddeComm's Custom Research Service?

News & Views

Have the latest telecommunications industry news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to Paul's FREE weekly News & Views.