Latin America has surpassed Europe and North America and is already the second fastest-growing streaming market in the world, just below Asia and the Middle East. In 2021, the region is expected to grow 21% for video streaming and 20% for audio, consolidating itself as a key strategic market for the expansion of global companies, as Europe and the United States nearing a saturation point.
A survey carried out by consultancy Netscribes shows that by 2021 the streaming market in Latin America is likely to reach $7 billion ($5.5 billion for video and $1.2 billion for audio). The data is found in the Beyond Borders 2021/2022 report, issued by the Brazilian payments fintech EBANX, which also owns LABS.
This boom can be traced to a range of factors, including a change in consumer behavior due to the COVID-19 pandemic, something that was seen around the world. But mainly thanks to the wider penetration of internet services, both fixed and mobile, across the region.
“This is what has been driving growth in the streaming market in Latin America. The pandemic was just another push, and all of that, combined with the arrival of 5G technology in the region, will further drive streaming services penetration”, said Bhavna Chandna, senior analyst at Netscribes consulted for the study.
Streaming right in the palm of your hand
Just as Latin American consumers are more and more using their smartphones for online shopping (the study states that by the end of this year, almost 60% of all online shopping in Latin America will be paid for over the cell phone), the device is also being used massively to stream audio or video content.
As a matter of fact, a survey done by Penthera with consumers in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina showed that 90% of them prefer their smartphone to consume streaming, much more than smart TVs (70%) or desktops (65%).
Since smartphones have been consolidated as the entrance door to digital services for millions of Latin American consumers – according to a GSMA study, by 2025 smartphones may represent 80% of all internet connections in Latin America –, global players interested in taking this market have been tailoring their services to mobile devices and investing in apps with a good user experience and ease interface, as well as specific subscription plans for mobile, as did HBO Max when it arrived in the region.
The battle for Latin American subscribers
In the last year, Latin America has seen the debut of several global players: Disney Plus, Star Plus, HBO Max, Discovery, and Paramount Plus were some of the big video streaming services that started operating in the region.
The bulk arrival of these services is due to slower subscriber growth in more mature markets, such as the United States and European countries: the subscriber base has reached a plateau, and the number of paid users has stalled. So it is time to explore markets with a more receptive audience: in Latin America, streaming video subscriptions are expected to reach 76 million by the end of 2021 – up from 53 million, a 43% growth year-over-year, according to Digital TV Research.
What is the result? Fierce competition. Netflix, the absolute leader in the region, is expected to end 2021 with a 50% market share in Latin America, followed by Disney Plus (21%), HBO Max (19%), and Amazon Prime Video and Viacom CBS (10% each), according to Netscribes primary research.
Latin America turns out to be a big fan of podcasts
The skyrocketing streaming market has also boosted audio streaming services, which are expected to reach $1.2 billion by the end of the year, placing Latin America as the fastest-growing region for audio streaming in the world.
As has been the case with video streaming platforms, audio streaming players are also focusing on improving the customer experience by investing in local content through partnerships with emerging and established artists in different Latin American countries. Offering local and original content is even one of the main factors in users’ choice when subscribing to a service.
But perhaps the biggest news when looking at the streaming audio market in the region is the fast rise of original podcasts. Spotify, now the leading audio streaming platform in Latin America, said in a report to shareholders that podcasts have been useful even in new user acquisition strategies. Deezer, on the other hand, informed that Brazil and Mexico are two of its main podcast consumers worldwide.
The Beyond Borders report is issued annually by the Brazilian fintech company with global operations EBANX. Take a look at the full Beyond Borders 2021/2022 survey here.