Telefónica the sole winner in falling Brazilian pay-TV market


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As if it was an impossible barrier to reach, Brazil's pay-TV market keeps declining as the financial crisis hits home, after nearing 20 million subs in January.

According to official figures from Anatel, the Brazilian market dropped 100,000 subscriptions during September, closing Q3 2015 with 19.48 million accesses. Every TV provider is missing subs except for Telefónica, which doubled its market share after GVT's integration. América Móvil's Net operations also added subs, but its other two subsidiaries, Claro and Embratel, are on the down.

Pay-TV average penetration places at 29.36%, with the highest accesses rate in the country's largest cities. Sao Paulo, with 7.46 million households, exceeds 50% penetration; and Rio de Janeiro, with 2.62 million, 44.8%.

Regarding technology, direct-to-home (DTH) is September's big loser, dropping nearly 150,000 subs, while cable (added 21,000 accesses) and fibre-to-the-home IPTV (up 10,000) increased their market share. Still, satellite represents nearly 60% of the pay-TV market.

DTH's big drop is mostly due to AT&T's DirecTV-SKY operation, which operates in 70,000 fewer homes than in August and places at 5.54 million subs, still being Brazil's second largest operator. In first place is América Móvil with 10.15 million subs, although the Mexican telco has dropped over 150,000 subs since the beginning of the year. After GVT's buy-out, Telefónica's VIVO operations is the third largest, with over 1.8 million subs.

Real figures seem to be contradicting the latest reports, which said Brazil's pay-TV market was to add eight million subs through the next three years. For now, the region's financial criss seems to be affecting the formerly-booming market.