By Justin Springham

Small screen video disrupts LatAm media landscape

A new GSMA report tipped the boom in mobile video consumption to open new opportunities for local content creation and distribution in Latin America.

Sebastián Cabello, GSMA’s head of Latin America, called consumers’ appetite for mobile entertainment a “game changer” for operators and media companies, adding it also “encourages the participation of entirely new players that can help develop local ecosystems”.

“As mobile takes the lead in video viewing, convergence between telecommunications and other media intensifies. The emergence of quad-play services in Latin America has opened the door to new services based around content and it’s also spurring new forms of collaboration among mobile operators, media groups, OTTs and film studios,” Cabello said.

The report claims disruptive local content projects promote the emergence of brand-new value chains, the creation of jobs and the advent of inventive revenue streams. It noted opportunities are not limited to traditional media; virtual, mixed and augmented reality, for example, provide another platform for mobile-powered innovation.

Driving this change is the huge growth in smartphone sales in the region. Smartphones now account for 65 per cent of Latin America’s 717 million mobile connections, up from just 23 per cent five years ago. More than a third of connections, around 35 per cent, are running on 4G.

According to GSMA Intelligence, mobile operators in Latin America are investing more than $15 billion per year in building out new networks, mainly with 4.5G technology. By 2025, it is forecast 4G will account for 64 per cent of connections. By that point, commercial 5G networks will have been launched and will account for about 8 per cent of the regional total.