Piracy becomes LATAM's third-largest virtual pay-TV operator
Juan Fernandez Gonzalez
| 05 December 2014
With many pointing to piracy as the real problem for pay-TV industry, rather than competition from over-the-top (OTT) and video-on-demand (VOD) services, Dataxis has come up with concrete figures showing that piracy currently accounts for 11% of Latin America's pay-TV market, with Brazil, Argentina and Colombia contributing the bulk of illegal accesses.

piracydataxisAcross Latin America's seven largest markets, the consultancy firm counts 7.8 million pirate pay-TV households. "The burden of informality is high. If we take volume into account, piracy would be the third largest virtual operator in the market," explained Carlos Blanco, author of the report and head of research at Dataxis.

By 2018, piracy will total 8.5 million accesses, according to the company's forecast. "Piracy will evolve slower than the formal market," Blanco predicted. Thus, it will be reduced to 8.8% of the pay-TV market.

During 2014, almost 60% of pirate viewers used satellite options. Direct-to-home (DTH) could accumulate over 80% of the irregular market by 2018. Piracy figures are heavily influenced by the so-called neighbour plans, an option by which set-top boxes are installed in different homes under a single subscription in order to reduce the cost of monthly fees.

Dataxis also detected different pirate practices over pay-TV services: those carried out by users to gain a free service and piracy-based commercial operations.

According to other reports, these piracy figures could be even higher if taking into account illegal commercial operations such as sub-reporting (not stating the real number of subs) or illegal broadcasting of premium signals.