The Latest on Media Consumption in Latin America

This post is also available in: Spanish

As part of implementing effective campaigns, advertisers and media agencies have to factor in which forms of media reach different audience segments the best. In Latin America, one basic metric to factor in is how much time people spend with different forms of media. Unfortunately, determining this is fairly tricky. First, there isn’t a regional authority measuring all media use across Latin America. Second, the data that’s out there comes from different sources that measure some forms of media and not others. Third, media consumption is usually measured in specific countries—but not in all 20+ countries in Latin America. For example, despite our best research efforts, we don’t have detailed media consumption data for El Salvador. Finally, firms use different criteria to measure media consumption—it’s not always simply the amount of time Latin Americans in different countries spending using different forms of media.

That said, there is still enough data out there to give us a reasonable data portrait for media consumption in key markets in Latin America.

Recent aggregate data published by LAMAC used 2012 survey data from TGI LATINA about media use in Argentina. The survey asked Argentines if they have watched free or pay TV in the past 7 days and if they have listened to the radio the day before the survey in any location. It also asked Argentines if they had gone online in the past 30 days, if they had read a newspaper in the past 30 days and if they had read a magazine in the past 6 months. LAMAC compared the responses to these questions in 2012 to responses in 2006 and indicated drops in the consumption of magazines (36%), newspapers (17%) and free TV (1.6%). It noted increases in consumption for pay TV (7.7%)  and Internet (27%). However, these responses are driven by the particular questions and the time frames as opposed to the actual time spent by Argentines with each form of media each day or week.
Below are media consumption figures for Argentina from different sources that may round out our understanding.

TV: Argentines watch 6 hours of TV every day, significantly higher than the world average of 3 hours and 12 minutes. While we could not find a study that indicates how much time is spent watching free TV versus pay TV, LAMAC does indicates that pay TV has 83% penetration in Argentina.

Print Media: 7 out of 10 Argentines say they buy the daily newspaper, though no recent studies seem to highlight how much time per day Argentines spend reading newspapers or print media. There was also no recent data on magazine readership in Argentina, whether it was overall percentages or amount of time spent reading them.

Radio: Nearly 90% of Argentine homes have a radio and 56% report listening to the radio daily, though we didn’t find recent studies that highlight how many hours a day Argentines spend listening to the radio.

Online Radio: More than 3.6 million Argentines listen to online radio stations.


Internet: 58% of Argentines have Internet access, 54% report that the Internet is their primary information source and Argentines spend 26 hours a month on the Internet (less than 1 hour per day)

TV: Brazilians watch TV an average of 20 hours per week, just behind the U.S. average of 23 hours per week.

Print Media: Depending on the source cited, 31%, 46% or 57% of Brazilians read newspapers. Which percentage you choose to see as correct depends on the source. IBOPE claimed it was 31%, while the Brazilian government claimed 46% and Fundação Perseu Abramo claimed that it was 57%. Even at 31%, this means that 60 million Brazilians read the newspapers, a significant audience that suggests strong reach for this medium and explains why circulation of newspapers in Brazil increased in 2012. Unfortunately, neither study covered how much time Brazilians spend with newspapers.
While Fundação Perseu Abramo indicates that 76% of Brazilians read magazines and of these, 50% read Veja, a government source indicates that nearly 35% of Brazilians read magazines. While 76% seems seems quite optimistic and is certainly much higher that the penetration of magazines in Brazil recently listed by IBOPE, 35%  seems like a more realistic figure and is consistent with previous statistics about magazines in Brazil. No recent studies seem to cover how much time Brazilians spend reading magazines.

Radio: According to Target Group Index, radio reaches 49% of the Brazilian population between 12 and 75 years of age, so around 71 million Brazilians listen to the radio overall. However, a different study indicates that 69% of Brazilians say they listen to the radio every day, suggesting a more massive audience of 133 million. The latter study appears to be more consistent with previous research into the reach of radio in Brazil. The studies we reviewed did not indicate how many hours a day or week that Brazilians spend listening to the radio.

Brazilians spend an average of 27 hours per month on the Internet (less than an hour per day), with a significant portion of that time spent on social media. Brazilians spend an average of 9.7 hours per month on social media, compared to the world average of 5.5 hours.

Nearly 74% of Chileans watch TV every day and Chileans watch TV an average of 3 hours and 51 minutes a day.

Radio: Around 48% of Chileans listen to the radio every day, though the studies we reviewed did not indicate how much time Chileans spend listening to the radio.

Newspapers: 20% of Chileans read the newspaper every day and La Tercera is the preferred newspaper in Chile, with 15.8% listing it as their top choice, followed by La Cuerta (14.9%). None of the studies we
reviewed indicated how much time Chileans spend reading newspapers.

Internet: While comScore indicates that Chileans spend an average of 19.5 hours a month on the Internet, the Wave 6 study from UM Chile reports that Chileans spend 11 hours a week online.


TV: While no numbers seem to be available for TV consumption by all Colombians, recent research indicates that the largest group of TV viewers in Colombia are between 5 and 17 and they watch 4 hours a day and that 81% of Colombian women watch TV as opposed to 79% of men. That said, we didn’t observe results for all Colombians in terms of time spent watching TV.

Newspapers: No figures seem to be available for time spent with newspapers by Colombians, but a recent study shows that newspaper readership in Colombia reached 6.3 million in 2013, up from 6.1 million in 2012. Given that Colombia has a population of 46 million, this suggests that 13% of Colombians read newspapers. That said, another source indicates that 26% of Colombians read newspapers.

Radio: According to the results of a small study by Google and D’Alessio IROL, on average Colombians listen to the radio 2.4 hours per day.

Internet: The Google study indicated that Colombians spend an average of 4.3 hours per day online, while another recent study indicated that the average time online for Colombians was 2.6 hours per day. Futuro Digital Colombia 2013, the most recent study from comScore, indicates that Colombian Internet users spend 17 hours per month online, per user.


TV: More than half of Mexicans (53.6%) watch TV between 2 and 4 hours per day, while 20% watch 1 hour per day and nearly 10% watch between 5 and 10 hours a day.

Newspapers: 27% of Mexicans read daily newspapers and el Estudio General de Medios for 2013 indicated that El Universal increased readership by 50% between January 2012 and June 2013.

Radio: 56% of Mexicans report listening to the radio, with 92% of listeners using traditional radios and 5.4% listening to online radio. Nearly 57% of Mexican radio listeners report listening to the radio between 1 and 3 hours a day, while 26% listen to radio more than 3 hours a day and 16% listen to radio for less than 1 hour per day.

Internet: While comScore reports that Mexicans spend an average of 17 hours per month online, Asociación Mexicana del Internet (AMIPCI) reports much more robust participation: its 2013 study Hábitos de los usuarios del Internet en México indicated that Mexican Internet users spend 5 hours a day online.



TV: Peruvians spend an average of 3 hours and 20 minutes a day watching TV.

Print Media: According to one recent study, Peruvians report spending between 30 and 41 minutes a day reading newspapers, with younger readers (ages 12-17) reporting 30 minutes and those older than 35 reporting 41 minutes. That said, research from the Consejo Consultivo de Radio y Television indicates that Peruvians spend 1 hour and 23 minutes a day reading print media (both newspapers and magazines)

Radio: Peruvians spend 2 hours and 53 minutes a day listening to the radio.

Internet: Peruvians spend 2 hours and 40 minutes a day online.


Overall, data for media consumption in Uruguay is not abundant, but we were able to find a June 2013 study from Opción Consultores, a market research firm, that offered some data about media consumption in the country.

77% of Uruguayans watch TV every day, while 11% watch it several times a week and nearly 5% never watch it. However, the amount of hours per day that Uruguayans spend watching TV was not specified.

Radio: 61% of Uruguayans listen to the radio every day, with 13.7 listening to it several times a week.

Print media: Around 12% of Uruguayans report reading print media every day, nearly 10% read them several times a week and 22% read them once a week. A significant number (nearly 45%) of Uruguayans say they never read print media. Of the Uruguayans that do read print media, 58% prefer El País, with El Telégrafo in the #2 spot with 4.3%.

Internet: Nearly 33% of Uruguayans say they use the Internet every day and nearly 11% use it several times a week. That said, 46% never use the Internet. Facebook is by far the most popular site among Uruguayans that do use the Internet, with 44% saying it’s their preferred site. Google is #2 with nearly 18%, followed by Mercado Libre, with nearly 6%.

To find out how we can help you reach Latin American consumers with a precisely targeted campaign in any form of media, please contact us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>