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Predicting the future is always tricky, but different industry associations have made forecasts for different forms of media in Latin America for the next few years, all based on current trends. Using this data, here’s what experts say that Latin America’s media market will look like in the near future.
#1 THERE WILL BE 359 MILLION INTERNET USERS IN LATIN AMERICA BY 2015
Currently the population of Latin America is at around 575 million but according to the Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), by 2015 Latin America will have 598 million people. (This count includes Puerto Rico, projected to have 4.1 million people by 2015, but excludes non-Spanish-speaking countries like Haiti and French Guyana.)
According to a May 2012 projection from Registro de Direcciones de Internet para América Latina y Caribe (LACNIC), by 2015 Internet penetration will reach 60% in Latin America. Since 60% of 598 million is 359 million, it appears that Latin America will add 127 million Internet users over the next 3 years to its current total of 232 million Internet users.
Not surprisingly, the growth will be driven by the powerhouse Internet markets.Brazil’s Comitê Gestor da Internet estimates that 80% of Brazil’s homes will have Internet access by 2015. Given Brazil’s population of 193 million and an average of 3.3 people per household, this means that by 2015 Brazil could have 154 million Internet users—up considerably from the 85 million it has today per comScore. LACNIC also predicts that Mexico will have 65 million Internet users by 2015, up hugely from its current total of 40.6 million. Other markets predicted to gain lots of new users include Chile (16.4 million Internet users by 2015) and Ecuador (7.5 million Internet users by 2015).
#2 PAY TV PENETRATION IN LATIN AMERICA WILL REACH 68% BY 2017
According to Dataxis, by 2017 pay TV penetration in the 7 biggest Latin American markets will reach 68% and offer advertisers and audience of 97 million people. The biggest growth markets for pay TV will be Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina. In addition, the head of Brazil’s national telecommunications agency (Anatel) recently said that 90% of Brazilian homes could have pay TV by 2018. For its part, Mexico could have more than 50% of pay TV penetration by 2015.
#3 LATIN AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS WILL GROW BY 5.5% PER YEAR THROUGH 2016
The downturn experienced by newspapers around the world does not seem to be affecting Latin America. According to a recent projection from PricewaterhouseCoopers, revenues for Latin American newspapers will grow annually by 5.5% through 2016 to reach US$10.4 billion.
#4 LATAM WILL HAVE 750 MOBILE CONNECTIONS BY 2015 PLUS MAJOR MOBILE DEVICE PENETRATION
According to the GSMA, Latin America will have 750 million mobile connections by 2015. Overall mobile penetration in the region is above 100%. Brazil’s mobile penetration is at well over 100%, as is Argentina’s, but in October 2012 Brazil reached a total of 258 million active mobile lines, up from 232 million just a few months back. Mexico is slated to reach 94% mobile penetration by the end of 2012 and over 100% by the first quarter of 2013.
Beyond simple penetration, mobile is changing Latin American markets through the adoption of mobile devices. It’s really not a question of whether a brand needs a mobile ad strategy for Latin America—it’s what this mobile ad strategy will be. Just look at the numbers:
- By 2015 Latin America will have 370 million mobile broadband subscribers
- Brazil will have 157 million mobile connections by 2015—more than double the 73 million it should reach in 2012
- Smartphone penetration in Mexico will reach 70% by 2015
- By 2015 some 200 million tablets will be sold in Peru
- IDC projects that by 2015, 57% of the mobile phones sold in Brazil will be smartphones
- Tablet sales in Brasil went up 267% from January to August 2012 and 5.4 million will be sold in Brazil in 2013
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