Latin American is FAST becoming the new stamping ground for free ad-supported streaming TV services like Pluto TV, owned by Viacom CBS. Paid streamers expanding into the market is nothing new: Netflix launched in Latin America way back in 2011 to reach a market twice the size of the one at home and it remains the only subscription streamer with high penetration in the territory. Disney Plus launched there at the end of 2020. But Digiday reports that’s changing with ad-supported streaming TV becoming the option of choice for audiences across the region; so much so that the market is set to rival that of more established Europe.
“If you look at the growth in streaming consumption and usage — both on the free and [subscription-based] side of things — it really has been taking off in a really substantial way in the last year. It’s now one of the fastest-growing video markets in the world,” The fastest, in fact. Kelly Day, ViacomCBS Networks International COO and president of streaming. Source: Digiday
Unsurprisingly, the rising popularity of the FAST model has had a multifold knock-on effect. The launch or imminent launch of new ad-supported streaming services means that Latin America represents a massive portion of media companies’ ad-inventory. Competition in the region has also hotted up with TV providers, offering alternative models or more compelling and relevant rosters of content, vying for a piece of the pie.
The knock-on effect for content providers more generally is obvious. The surge in popularity of ad-supported TV only confirms viewers’ willingness to access content for free in exchange for watching ads, which highlights the opportunity for cheaper and free ad-supported platforms to gain a share of the market. If content owners can localize existing content for the region, not only is there a receptive audience, improving digital advertising infrastructures, copious ad inventory, and advertizers ready to monetize that content; the returns are large because the cost of localizing (if done strategically) are relatively low.
This said, despite the surplus of ad inventory, advertizers are still in the phase of weighing up how to adjust their strategies. They’re comparing the returns and accessibility of traditional TV (which is still a cheap way to reach people) and digital platforms like YouTube, Facebook and the other burgeoning social media platforms with the FAST model which they consider to be in its infancy. As well as the opportunity to gain a share of the market among price-conscious consumers in Latin America generally, this period of transition suggests that free ad-supported digital platforms which are already established have a unique opportunity to reassert their selling point now – large audiences and cheap prices.
Lead image: Leandro Loureiro