By Jossi Fresco, Regional Director, Latin America
For over-the-top (OTT) TV providers looking for the right time to embrace the Latin American media market, the wait is over.
The Business Bureau Book 2018 report revealed that 44 million households in Latin America watch TV online – that's 7 out of 10 homes with an internet connection. That same report showed that Latin American homes are comfortable with subscription video on demand (SVOD) services and that nearly half the households (48%) subscribe to Netflix – up from 34% in 2015. Part of this growth is credited to the region's comparatively late internet adoption. Now that high-speed internet is more common in Latin America, OTT adoption is too.
Broadcasters and content providers should jump at the chance to get their video in front of this fast-growing market. But to ensure success, here are three things to consider for OTT survival in Latin American media.
When it comes to selecting a content distributor, content creators have a lot to choose from. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter provide enormous reach for video because they're free to join (for both users and video providers), and offers a built-in ad network, making setup easy.
That said, one of the most essential features a distribution partner should offer is a predictable revenue environment, and Facebook and YouTube frequently change their business terms and algorithms. When Facebook adjusts its algorithm and alters how users see video, online content providers often see their revenue decline. For those seeking more control and predictability, a self-owned-and-operated (O&O) site may be a better fit. An O&O site allows a video provider complete control of the experience of its brand. Though it means additional responsibility, it will enable the video provider to choose everything from content to audiences to advertisers. As an added benefit, the brand can keep all the data and ad revenue it collects, which is not often the case with social media platforms.
When entering a new region, it's important to offer OTT content that the intended audience will value. In Latin America, that means adjusting offerings on a country-by-country basis. Even if two countries share the same official language (such as Spanish), that doesn't mean they'll share audiences, trends in OTT adoption or advertisers.
For the three OTT audiences in Latin America growing the fastest: Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, it's better to market different types of content for each market, taking into consideration cultural differences as well as variances in media consumption habits. One should also consider disparities in technological infrastructure that can impact total viewership. These issues aside, the sheer growth potential for Latin American media makes it worth the extra time and effort to provide custom offerings for each country.
Even the most valuable content is pointless if viewers don't know about it. Content creators need to always think about promotion. Without enough viewers in front of a provider's video, ad revenue suffers. A content creator can choose to run ad campaigns on a social network like Facebook, but running an O&O video site can drive dramatically higher ad revenue. One way to build an audience is to give viewers tools to make content promotion social and fun by making content easy to interact with and share. Doing so will help engage with audiences while expanding reach. The more viewers, the more information that can be gathered, leading to insights that help increase future engagement, quality of experience and ad revenue.
Building a Latin American media audience is similar to creating one anywhere else. Start by choosing an OTT distribution platform. Better yet, opt for your own O&O site for more control. Content is still king, so make sure your content has value for your audiences, regardless of where they live. And finally, promote, promote, promote. Even if you have the world’s best content, it won’t be on long if no one is watching.
Finally, and most importantly, stay prepared for disruption and remain agile and ready to pivot to whatever users decide will be the future of OTT.
For more information about OTT in Latin America, I encourage you to attend my session at NexTV Mexico on September 25th at 10:10 a.m. To learn how our Uplynk Video Streaming service makes it easy for broadcasters and content owners to adaptively stream quality linear, live and on-demand video to every device, worldwide, please click here.