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A quick pick on Brazilian television

Another quick short “review from an interview” (remark which seems to be proving a style in my wiriting here for the festival…), this time with Ricardo Pereira – foreign correspondent from Rede Globo – gladly done in Portuguese and of much interest to luso-speakers and not just us (that’s why it’s in English here).

We talked a bit after the debate on Press Freedom in Latin America, and I asked him about the taking of TV Globo to Portugal. But before, a little footnote: Rede Globo is the biggest media chain in Brazil and the four biggest in the world, owned by another “RM” – but no, it’s not Rupert Murdoch, it’s Roberto Marinho (now Roberto Marinho Foundation, since he died in 2003). And besides the open channel (with many other regional branches,), Globo has a 24-hour news channel for cable TV, Globo News, correspondents around the world and has also been subject of many controversies, in which Roberto Marinho had his part also. Footnote parenthesis closed.

I asked Ricardo Pereira about the recent creation of a Globo branch in Portugal –  and why wasn’t it done before, given the cultural and linguistic compatibility –  and how does it work, if they create original content there or just import the programs produced back in Brazil. He said that for now, just one program is being produced in Portugal, “Cà Estamos”. “It’s a weekly program that goes on air every saturday, and the idea is to look for what is there of Brazilian culture in Portugal, but the idea is to identify with Portuguese audience, showing them a liitle of the Brazilian culture under their own point of view”. And it’s got a logical explanation: “2/3 of the subscribers to TV Globo in Portugal are Portuguese people”. Now, concerning the core of what is broadcasted, it’s mainly TV programs produced by TV Globo, with a specific characteristic: no much of soap-operas because “most of them are already transmitted through SIC Portugal for some years now, and to cover these  ‘holes’ in the agenda, we put some GNT and GloboSat programs in their place”.

And concerning the “delay” on the arrival of Globo in Portugal (let’s consider that the first Brasilian soap-opera was broadcasted to Portuguese lands in 1977, “Gabriela, Cravo e Canela” and there’s a massive consumption of Brazilian music and culture in the country. So I consider the little more than one-year-old Brazilian television in the country as a delay), Pereira said that it was because the “Portuguese market used to be somehow disdained for its size, it isn’t that big. But since we sent a corrrespondent to Lisbon we could expand more our view on it and noticed that it was really worth it”, and not just because of the numbers, but also to aggregate more culturally speaking, he added.

When we talked about the profile of the viewer of Globo Internacional (now comprising everywhere the company is represented, and not just in Portugal), Ricardo told me that “the profile of Brazilian immigrants have changed a lot along the years, and it’s not anymore whether people running away from poverty or those who can afford to spend their money on international trips and gap years. We have a lot of people who come to Europe hired by big companies already, people in international marriages and students of all kinds”, and it seems that the audience is not at all composed just by immigrants who miss their sunny land. Brazilian people living abroad like know what goes on back home, but are also curious to discover what goes on the screen of the countries they’re living in (or young people, for example, might almost hardly watch TV  – adendum from my own). And one other interesting thing he pointed was the fact that “Brazilian people are much more scattered in Europe than in the United States”, and it tells something about the reach Rede Globo also. “In the States, brazilians tend to get together and form big communities, and in Europe the mechanism is different, they’re close but not knotted that tight. We have subscribers in Nothern Europe, Southern Europe, Asia and even close to the Artic Polar Circle, where we have a Brazilian woman who got married there and wants to have a bit from home in her current home”.

It proves once more the “pseudo-theory” I’ve always had and still have: “we’re everywhere!

Meghie Rodrigues

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