Brazilian VOD market heats up

Gabriel Miramar-Garcia ©RapidTVNews | 12-03-2012

The market for video-on-demand (VOD) in Brazil, the sixth-largest economy globally--is expected to become a competitive hotbed in the coming years.
"Brazilian customers need to be educated about VOD," Fabio Lima, CEO of digital film distribution company Mobz told Variety. "At this point, the number of customers is still small, but it is growing fast; Brazil will have a significant VOD market within three years."
Thanks to a booming economy that has managed to escape the recessionary winds buffeting the rest of the world, Brazil has seen its pay-TV subscriber base grow 29.5% to 12.7 million in 2010, according to regulatory agency Anatel. Also, Brazil has one of the fastest-growing pool of broadband-enabled households in the world, many of which are underserved when it comes to television options. And that has made the country ripe for VOD rollouts from both over-the-top players--both Apple and Netflix have recently expanded into the region--and more traditional pay-TV operators.
Apple and Netflix are new entrants, and heavy hitters in the OTT space. But local OTT players are present as well, notably NetMovies, which uses a Netflix model of mail-order discs and online streaming packages. There's also the Hulu-like Terra, majority-owned by Telefonica. It offers subscription-based online TV and transactional VOD.
Then there's pay-TV VOD. Last month, satellite operator Sky Brazil embraced the multiplatform zeitgeist with its own over-the-top (OTT) online TV service, appropriately called Sky Online. Meanwhile, cable operator NET offers the Now service, which offers free catch-up service for the Telecine movie channel and transactional VOD for non-Telecine movies.
With so many options, the market is primed for a VOD free-for-all. "The potential for growth is very high, but it is a market in development," said Jason Ropell, Netflix's VP for content, told Variety. "It only takes time. Brazilians consume a lot of content, especially from Hollywood."