EP NowEP StoreAcademySupportCommunityProducts by Country
Blog Home

Streaming Services Expand to Latin America and New Audiences

SVOD providers look to Latin America as a gateway to global stories and new subscribers
October 11, 2022

Joseph Chianese

Streaming Expands to Latin America-3

The lifeblood of subscription video-on-demand services (SVOD's – streamers like Netflix, Paramount Plus, Disney+, and HBO Max) are content and subscribers. In the simplist terms, more content means more subscribers, and more subscribers mean more revenue.

Most streaming services already have a significant foothold in North America – 85 percent of households have a subscription to a VOD – now, they look to expand into other global territories where large numbers of potential subscribers eagerly await access to local and global content. Among the most sought after regions is Latin America (and other Spanish and Portuguese speaking territories), which is currently the second fastest growing streaming market in the world.

Latin America currently has nearly 70 million VOD subscribers, but has a population of over 600 million people. Even with estimates that potential subscribers will reach 131 million by 2026 (and streamers like Disney+ expected to climb 260 percent), the potential for growth remains immense. That has driven streamers in the last five-plus years to invest heavily in local productions in Latin America, which is dramatically impacting the production landscape. 

Local investments, global stories

In the last decade, significant money has made its way to Latin America and turbocharged local content in order to court subscribers. Since 2014, Netflix has invested $175 million in Colombia productions (resulting in hits like ‘Narcos,’ with 33 other series currently underway) and committed to spend $300 million on 50 original productions in Mexico, and 40 projects in Brazil in 2022. Since launching in November 2020, Disney+ has backed 70 original productions across Latin America, and since HBO Max launched in June 2021, it has promised up to 70 original productions by 2023.

Streamers’ motives aren’t hard to discern. “It's about how much money you invest in a country and the revenue you're going to get in terms of subscribers,” says Cristobal Sotomayor, a Chilean Managing Director of the production company 24 Seven Talent. Furthermore, many countries require streamers to create a certain amount of content in that jurisdiction in order to be granted licenses to stream.

The current wave of SVOD Latin American content, however, is about more than financial motivations for streamers. “They are looking for more stories,” says Ana Aizenberg, Argentina’s Film Commissioner.

“One of the reasons why producers and streamers have looked towards South America is because we have a different way of telling stories”, says Sotomayor. That uniqueness has become more appreciated, not just by streamers, but the world. Local content can now find massive global audiences, as evidenced by sensations like South Korea’s ‘Squid Game,’ Germany’s ‘Dark,’ Spain’s ‘Money Heist,’ and France’s ‘Lupin’ and ‘Call My Agent.’

Streamers now hope for more. “A year ago, streamers said they didn’t want ‘global’ content — local content for a global audience. They wanted local talent and wanted stories to be local to get more local subscribers,” Cristina Garza, SVP, Television Development and Production, Endeavor Content, told Screen Daily in March 2022. “Now it’s shifted again and there’s a need for more global content.”

Latin America is eager to provide the content and storytellers. As José Castro Chacón, Costa Rica's Film Commissioner, tells creators in meetings, “Let's keep thinking about our local stories, local stories for a global audience. If you make your story more understandable on a global level, then you have a higher possibility for success.” That success is one shared by both Latin American countries and the streamers.

Woman watching funny movie at home.jpg

Success requires infrastructure growth

A need to further develop industry and infrastructure has proven to be a by-product of streamers’ growing presence in Latin America. “We’re having what we are calling 'a tsunami of productions',” says Brazil’s Luiz Francisco Vasco de Toledo, Director of Investments and Strategic Partnerships at Spcine, São Paulo’s audiovisual development company. The result? “It's really hard to find professionals in all the areas.”

Brazil isn’t alone in that struggle. “This has happened in a lot of countries. Everybody's busy,” says Chile’s Sotomayor. The same goes for Mexico. “People are fighting for vans, equipment; no actor is free, everybody has 20 offers on the table,” Mexican producer, Pablo Cruz, told Screen Daily.

The high demand and increased productions have led to shortages in crew, equipment, sound stages, training, and more. Even countries like Brazil – one of the largest and most robust TV and film industries in the region – find themselves trying to keep up with demand.

Despite the challenges, Latin American countries are looking to adapt quickly. Costa Rica is drawing on sixteen educational institutions that can train technical crew to support projects across Latin America. They are also courting guidance from streaming experts, like Rafael Aladjem, ViacomCBS’ Unscripted TV Director for Latin America, to navigate how the region can further participate in the content boom.

In Colombia, investments from countries like Mexico have led to growth in equipment rental houses and postproduction facilities. This has also led to a push for training, ensuring locals are knowledgable on how to operate the equipment and facilities, an initial concern for investors. “[Investors] were worried that people did not know how to use the equipment," says Silvia Echeverri, Promotion and Film Commission Director in Colombia. "So, those training programs are starting to open.”

Videographer at work filming video in studio set.jpg

New production incentives aim to boost local economies

Numerous countries are also pushing production incentives forward with the hopes of attracting even more industry to the region. Columbia offers a 20% to 40% rebate/transferable tax credit; Panama’s rebate sits at 25%; and Uruguay comes in at 20% to 25%, with more incentives expected from South American countries, as currencies and economies become more stable. And as production demands grow, so too will the development of crew and infrastructure.

Individual cities - like São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – have been fielding investments too, actively campaigning for financiers to fund further infrastructure, such as sound stages, to meet not just current demand but the overall future of the industry. “We are talking about investments that reflect new jobs, and new generations of creators,” says Brazil’s Luiz Francisco Vasco de Toledo. As such, São Paolo offers a 20% to 30% cash rebate to support the current and future demand. Rio de Janeiro also announced its own incentive program with a 35% cash rebate (note, the country of Brazil does not have a national incentive). In addition, most recently, Buenos Aires announced a 20% Cash Rebate (similar to Brazil, the country of Argentina does not yet have a national incentive).

Interest and investments from streamers are likely to continue coming, with potential VOD streaming revenue in Latin America expected to reach $6.4 billion by 2025, putting the region on the verge of something special: a golden age of Latin American content, propelled by ever more robust infrastructures, and new voices telling local stories that will entertain the world.

Related Content

Virtual Production

The UK Invests in Virtual Production as Content Boom Continues

The UK is doubling down on Virtual Production infrastructure; learn how and why they’re leading the charge...
Topic: UK

Hawaii 2023 Loan-Out GET Tax Rule FAQs

Productions seeking a Hawaii tax credit must withhold and report general excise tax (GET) on loan-outs in...

Hawaii Production Tax Incentives Notice

Hawaii announces new rules and procedures for reporting and paying loan-out HI General Excise Tax (GET)...
Master Series Budgeting 2023

Budgeting for 2023: Federal, State, and Incentive Considerations

Learn what Federal and State payroll tax changes are coming in 2023, plus tips for setting up your...

UK Production Incentives All Producers Should Know About

Don't miss out on the UK's tax incentives, special programs, and national and regional funding...

Behind the Boom: Why the UK is a Hotspot for Production

Explore the generous industry incentives, talent, and infrastructure available to productions filming in...

Production Incentives Update: November 2022

Don't miss these US incentive programs, accepting applications now!

US Production Incentives Special Alert: Hawaii

Hawaii amends Motion Picture, Digital Media, and Film Production Income Tax Credit

Preparing for Year End: Focus, Find, and Fix!

EP's payroll tax experts share best practices to identify and resolve payroll tax errors for a smooth year...
Western Canada

Production Tax Incentives in Western Canada Every Producer Should Know About

Alberta and Manitoba offer film and TV productions competitive tax incentive programs and versatile...

Film Industry Booms in Buffalo

Western New York draws top filmmakers with expanded tax incentives, new soundstages, and architectural...
EP Blog_SQUARE_New York

NY Convenience Rule Impacts Remote Production Workers and Film Incentives

How remote employee payroll taxes apply to New York-based productions and if an employee’s physical...
EP Blog_SQUARE_US Expanded Incentives 2022-2

A Record Number of US States Expand Filmmaking Incentives in 2022

Your guide to the latest news in production incentives and film programs to come from the 2022 legislative...
EP Blog_SQUARE_New US Incentives 2022

New US Film Incentives Introduced in Arizona, Indiana, Florida, and West Virginia

As production continues to boom, new tax credits and other programs welcome industry to new locations...
Los Angeles Times logo-sq

Hollywood production in U.K. soars to record levels as crews complain of burnout

Spending on film and high-end television shoots reach record-breaking amounts as production activity...
EP Webinar Panelists - US Production Incentives Update

US Production Incentives Update: New and Expanded Programs in 2022

Film commissioners Colleen Bell and Sandy Lighterman, and production executives Jay Roewe and Ashley Rice,...
EP Blog_SQUARE-Atlantic Canada Expands Incentives

Atlantic Canada Expands Film Incentives in 2022

Enhanced production incentive programs attract industry to Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, and...
Mount Hood, Oregon

Building on Oregon’s Cinema Legacy

How improved tax Incentives, job training, and production infrastructure is expanding the filmmaking...
5 Master Series panelists discussing Atlantic Canada production incentives-square

Production Incentives Update: Atlantic Canada

Learn how productions can benefit from newly expanded incentives in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador,...
EP Blog_SQUARE_Wes Hagen

Meet the Location Manager

A conversation with award-winning location manager Wes Hagen ('Ozark,' 'Hidden Figures.')
EP Blog_SQUARE_filmmaking in new mexico

Forging the Future of Filmmaking in New Mexico

As the film industry expands in the Southwest, New Mexico leads the region as top destination thanks to...
Jennifer Liscio

Spotlight: Jennifer Liscio, VP of Tax Incentives and Legal Affairs

Meet EP's Canadian legal affairs and tax incentives domain expert, Jennifer Liscio, and learn how she’s...
EP Blog_Residuals and the streaming model

Residuals and the Streaming Model

How residuals apply to historical content on new media platforms.
Oklahoma route 66 sign

A New Frontier in Filmmaking

Oklahoma is becoming a production destination, thanks to new incentives and infrastructure programs.

7 Things Production Finance Teams Need to Know for Budgeting in 2023

Mark Hammond, VP of International Finance & Ops, shares some of the key factors production finance teams...

Production Tax Incentives Notice: Hawaii

Hawaii Department of Tax (DoTax) issues Tax Advisory notice on tax obligations of persons working in the...
Topic: Alerts

Meet the Music Supervisor

Kasey Truman ('Grey’s Anatomy,' 'The Sandman,' 'Fire Country') on the art of creating cinematic...

Production Incentives Update: December 2022

A look at changing film incentive programs across the US, Canada, and Czech Republic.

Budgeting and Forecasting Film and Television Residuals

What production accountants need to know to confidently budget and forecast for residuals.

Entertainment Partners at 2022 Institute on Entertainment Law and Business

EP's Production Incentives Practice Leader, Joe Chianese, joins panel to educate producers on the wide...

The Production Accountant’s Guide to Year-End Payroll

A step-by-step breakdown of how to navigate pitfalls and fix production payroll errors for a smooth year...

Film Community and Industry Jobs Grow in Washington State

Thanks to new funding and a continuous effort by Amy Lillard, Executive Director of Washington Filmworks,...

Special Report: Entertainment – A Hollywood Education

It’s the best of times and the worst of times for employment in the entertainment/streaming industry.

Special Report: Entertainment – Soundstage Gold Rush

Hollywood is experiencing an ongoing boom that fills its Los Angeles production hub to overflow levels.
EP Blog_SQUARE_Creating a development budget

The Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Development Budget

Before you start the filmmaking process, learn what basics you need to budget for to get your idea off the...
Changes to UK right to work checks

Important Changes to UK Right to Work Checks

On September 30, 2022 the UK rules around right to work checks will change. Here’s what productions need...
Topic: UK
Master Series Square Thumbnail-Film Financing-Crowdfunding

Film Financing Explained: Crowdfunding

Emily Best (Seed&Spark), Stacy Bradford (Indiegogo), and producer Zach Fineblum join us to discuss the ins...
EP-Newsroom-Below the Line-Thumbnail-480

Union Roundup: Production Incentives Experts Gather, Hoping Hollywood Can Bring Economic Recovery As We Learn to Live With Covid

Entertainment Partners offered an update on U.S. Production Incentives for 2022. The seminar focused on...
Streaming platform on tablet device

The Evolution of Residuals: How Streaming Changed the Model

Understanding how residuals payments are calculated for new content on streaming platforms.
dollar signs representing digital crowdfunding

The Beginner’s Guide to Crowdfunding

How filmmakers can leverage the power of social networks and online platforms to build buzz and secure...
Canadian flag flying over Quebec City

5 Reasons to Consider Canada for Your Next Production

Here's why Canada deserves a spot on every producer's shortlist.
Topic: Canada
EP Blog_Jesse Wente

Supporting Indigenous Storytellers of Canada

How the Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) offers advocacy and funding for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis...
Topic: Canada
Sian Richards and Queen Latifah-square

A Face Kit for Every Skin Tone

Hollywood makeup artist Siân Richards is transforming the makeup industry for actors of every shade.
EP Blog_SQUARE_Fighting Hollywood Stereotypes-TTEI

Fighting Stereotypes and Rethinking Representation

How TTIE is advancing authentic storytelling in Hollywood by empowering historically excluded writers and...

Contracting in a COVID-19 World  

The pandemic has affected how UK production companies contract crew. Here’s how to reduce the impact of...

Terms to Include in UK Crew Contracts

Common terms which studios and production companies include in their UK crew contracts.
Topic: UK

The UK GDPR and how Productions can Reduce their Exposure - Q&A with Sheridans

Sheridans’ Associate Krishan Neelendra answers key UK GDPR questions from production companies and...
Topic: UK
KJ Lamb and Simon Donovan

Empowering the Next Wave of Production Accountants

The EP Production Portal team was delighted to participate in the biannual Netflix Assistant Production...
cell phone with sticky note stating sign here

Six e-Consent Myths (and Why They’re Not True)

Sheridans Associate, Sarmad Saleh, debunks some common e-consent myths.
Topic: Legal

Payroll & Finances

PayrollResidualsSmartStartNew SmartTimeProduction PortalEP On LocationSmartAccountingEP LiveSmartPOCASHétPayPaymaster Rate GuideEP Residency

Manage Multiple Productions

AssetHubSmartHubSmartHub Vault
Subscribe now

Be an industry insider with EP's
newsletters and alerts

LegalPrivacy NoticeSecurity
© 2023 Entertainment Partners. All rights reserved.