Telefónica plots pay-TV dominance

Spanish telco Telefónica aims to lead the Spanish-speaking pay-TV sector with a potential market of 600 million clients combined in Spain and Latin America, according to company president Cesar Alierta, who argued that it was the only company capable of facing the dominance of the US and UK in the TV content world.

“The pay-TV market will be dominated by four or five TV operators and three are North American and one British,” he said at a Press Conference to discuss Telefónica’s Full Year 2014 results. “Our goal is to become the biggest provider of pay-TV in Spanish. It’s a historic opportunity and we are not going to let it go to waste,” he declared.

Alierta pointed out that Telefónica will rely on exclusive TV content rights (mainly football TV rights) to strengthen its position in the market.

Currently, Telefónica globally has 5.1 million pay-TV subscribers with a growth of almost half last year, up 48 per cent. Only in Spain, the company has 1.9 million pay TV clients, a threefold increase year-on-year, to be strengthened over the next months when the acquisition of Digital Plus, the country’s leading pay TV platform, is likely to receive antitrust approval.

Elsewhere, Telefónica saw pay-TV numbers in Brazil rise by 20 per cent to 770,000 whereas in other Spanish-speaking territories, the growth amounted to 14 per cent at 2.4 million. In the American continent, Telefónica is facing tough competition in a region with low penetration of pay-TV.

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