IMS: Mobile Is The New Prime Time In Latin America

gastontaratutaims_3LatAm is a region on the rise.

Nine out of 10 people with an internet connection in Latin America also own a smartphone, per a report released Monday.

And people who own a smartphone spend more than 37 hours a week connected to the internet and only a little more than seven hours a week watching TV, noted the report from comScore and IMS, a Miami-based media and marketing company that helps tech businesses expand into Latin America.

Despite that fact, Latin America is still very much a “TV-dominant market,” at least in terms of ad spend if not time spent, said Gastón Taratuta, CEO and founder of IMS, which serves as an ad partner to Twitter, Apple, Spotify and LinkedIn, among others. In July 2015, Sony Pictures Television acquired a majority stake in IMS for $100 million.

A handful of large broadcast companies spread across LatAm countries command about 40% of media dollars in the market.

But that doesn’t reflect where usage is trending, said Taratuta, who noted that we’re moving toward a world in which celebrities on social networks can have a larger base than the most popular and highly viewed telenovelas. It’s a wake-up call.

“Prime time has moved from 8 p.m. on a channel to your own prime time, your own moment,” he said. “The journey has changed considerably.”

AdExchanger caught up with Taratuta.

AdExchanger: What’s the future of TV in Latin America?

GASTON TARATUTA: Broadcasters are feeling pain in terms of time spent, especially as digital streaming content proliferates. [Mexican media conglomerate] Televisa, for example, increased the prices of their commercials and they have fewer advertisers. Advertisers are thinking about moving their money from the large television companies and spending it elsewhere.

But cable content and advertising is growing because people want to have the triple play: They want to have access to the internet and to content through TV. But there is going to be a point where cable stops growing and digital will surpass it. That’s what’s been happening in the US over the last 10 years.

Which apps are people spending the most time in?

The most popular apps are gaming apps, streaming apps, news, messaging and social networks – basically all of the apps you need to run your life.

Revenue is now mobile. About 80% of Facebook’s revenue, 90% of Twitter’s revenue and 50% of Google’s revenue is mobile – it’s happening. Before, the main entrance to the internet was the browser. Today, the main entrance to the internet is made up of applications.

Do people opt to turn on location services in LatAm?

You know what the percentage is of people globally who clean their browsers for cookie tracking? About 12%. The percentage of people who turn off location services? Under one digit. That’s also true in Latin America. If you’re in a big metropolis like Sao Paulo with 11 million people, you want to know where you are and you want to know where you’re going.

Most people have geolocation services turned on, which is why advertising is becoming so relevant for companies like Foursquare and Waze and for Google with maps and search.

People in Latin America seem open to buying stuff on their phones. You found that 66% of smartphone users made a purchase on their device within the past six months.

Mobile commerce is really picking up. I consider m-commerce to include everything from buying a pair of sneakers on your phone after looking at the them in the store to calling up Uber or ordering a taxi.

But it’s not just Latin America. If you go to China and look at what Baidu is doing, it’s developing for mobile, not for the browser. You see more and more development focused on commerce through applications, and it’s only going to grow.

Users in Brazil, Colombia and Chile spend the most time online, with an average of more than 10 hours a week on their phone. Why those countries?

Connectivity is linked to infrastructure and what phones and data plans are available. In some markets, phones and data are more accessible, so people have a greater willingness to consume more.

But that will even out eventually. People who live in the US have “all-we-can-eat” plans, in terms of data. That’s not happening in Latin America yet, but when it does this is going to be an even bigger opportunity. I’d say it’ll probably be another two years.

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