MADRID , Paulo Castro has been upped to CEO of Terra, the Latin American Internet portal owned by Spanish telco behemoth Telefonica.

He previously served as Terra country manager for Brazil, its biggest market. He replaces Fernando Madeira, who is leaving the company.

Castro and Madeira were co-founders in the early ’90s of Nutec, which, now renamed ZAZ and Brazil’s second-biggest Internet company, was acquired by Telefonica in 1999 to create Terra Latin America.

Castro’s challenge is to take Terra, one of the world’s biggest digital media companies, to the next stage in geographic and market terms.

In March, Terrace launched a new film-TV VOD platform in Latin America, Sundaytv, with non-exclusive deals with Sony, Fox, Disney and Warner Bros.

Terra is now Sundaytv and Sonora, Terra’s digital music service, in Spain, with plans to expand to other countries in Europe.

Operating in 19 countries in the Americas and Europe and delivering entertainment, sports and news content to connected TVs, PCs, tablets, smartphones and other devices, Terra is highly ambitious: It has snagged exclusive online broadcasting rights across Latin America to London’s 2012 Olympics and will stream 4,760 hours of HD programming via 36 live channels in the region.

Latin American market growth is aided by low pay TV penetration , under 25%, compared to 90% in the U.S.

For Castro, ”It is an honor to become Terra’s CEO at this important moment in its development, as we consolidate our leadership in Latin America, begin our expansion into Europe and build our position in the U.S.A., where we have a fast-growing audience amongst the Hispanic population.”