Brazil’s pay-TV growth over the past few years has been extraordinary, and despite a slowdown this current year, to a miserable 12 per cent, the typical annual growth rate has been nearer 30 per cent annually.
Today’s pay-TV sub numbers about 17 million households, but according to Brazil’s communications minister Paulo Bernardo, his department sees this growth continuing to a massive 40 million “and within 3 to 4 years”.
One of the catalysts in expanding the market is to legitimise the estimated 7 million Brazilian homes which view pirate signals. According to Brazilian daily Valor Economico, a survey from Business Bureau estimates the number of homes connected to pirated TV signals at around 7 million, compared with 8.9 million for pay-TV operator ‘Net’. The second largest pay-TV operator in the country is the DTH service from Sky Brasil/DirecTV, which has 5.2 million.
Piracy causes losses of BRL2 billion per year to the sector in Brazil, while annual losses in Latin America vary from $2.5 billion to $2.8 billion. The Business Bureau study is the first of its kind in Brazil and was commissioned by the pay-TV operators. According to the consultancy, illegal connections represent 41 per cent of the formal pay-TV market. Among countries in the region, Mexico and Colombia have the highest piracy rates, with 8 million illegal connections each, followed by Brazil (7 million) and Argentina (5 million).
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