Mexico’s OTT services under fire

Over-the-top (OTT) TV services in Mexico need greater regulation to ensure they pay taxes. That was the call from some speakers at a panel session called “How OTT pay TV will change TV” at the recent NexTV Series Mexico & Central America event.

OTT refers to content providers that distribute streaming media directly to viewers over the Internet, bypassing telecommunications, multichannel television or broadcast television platforms; the best known of these include Netflix and Amazon Video. OTT has, in recent years, proved both disruptive and profitable, although, as one panellist pointed out, OTT services in Mexico also have to manage with low average revenue per user (ARPU), potentially making such services less profitable than in, say, the US.

Nevertheless, amid calls for a level playing field, Mexico’s Telecommunications Federal Institute (IFT), the country’s regulator of telecommunications and broadcasting services, recently published a regulatory vision for the period 2019-2023, where it pointed out the importance of “analysing the implications of the growth of OTT services in the telecommunications and radio broadcasting sectors.”

NexTV is where the main Mexican and Central American TV, OTT and online video companies meet to discuss strategic ventures and address key challenges. The recent event took place in Mexico City, late September. If comments made by delegates are anything to go by, it seems that process is already well under way.