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Online video’s growing pains

16 December 2011
Online video’s growing pains

The story of online video in Latin America is not just about the consumer. Internet users have shown they are keen to watch videos online but lack of professional content, the current state of marketing practice and a buoyant traditional television advertising market are all holding the medium back.

Online video is very much a part of the Latin American internet culture. In most markets, more than 80% of the online population watches video. The top viewers are Mexican internet users, who watch 10.5 hours a month, according to Comscore.

The big opportunity, however, is that LatAm TV culture is still very traditional, with families watching TV together in the evenings. Consumers often write on social networks about the series they love. But most media owners are failing to provide additional video content for them to engage with online.

Where consumers do watch a limited amount of TV content online, it’s because they have missed an episode. So video consumption is still dominated by short films, mainly user-generated, and watched mainly by younger demographics.

Ironically, the behaviour of TV distributors is about to boost online video advertising in Mexico. Changes in the way that Mexican cable operators interpret the rules on commercial minutage are likely to leave the whole market with less ad inventory. Competition for slots is also boosting prices. Ultimately, advertisers will have to find a home for budgets that need to reach more people at a more effective rate, while maintaining proven communications strategies.


The experiences of brands in Mexico may be key in determining how fast the region as a whole adopts true video planning – as opposed to separate TV and digital planning.

A combined approach will align goals for TV and digital, using assets that already exist. And by assessing effectiveness across both channels, marketers and agencies will be able to create a single language to compare video in TV and online.

Rachel Reyes is director of interaction for Latin America at Mediacom


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