LATIN AMERICA: THE BUYS FROM BRAZIL

Elizabeth Johnson profiles ten of the biggest players within Brazil's media landscape.

Bandeirantes

Unlike the Brazilian TV market, where the top channels dominated the airwaves nationwide, Brazilian radio is regional and fragmented and few stations have nationwide coverage. Bandeirantes Radio, which is based in Sao Paulo, has increased its presence throughout the country and now has one of the largest listener bases in the country. Bandeirantes focuses on Brazil's national pastime, football, to keep listeners tuned in. It also has respected news staff with both local and national reports.

Bandeirante's FM music station is also growing in both its reach and in audience.

Folha de Sao Paulo

With a circulation of nearly 300,000, the Sao Paulo daily Folha de Sao Paulo is Brazil's largest newspaper, being the preferred read of the educated classes. While Folha's editorial staff is left-leaning, it has remained independent and willing to voice criticisms of the government.

While Folha focuses on the educated elite, its sister publication Extra has a more popular focus, which gives the group its broad penetration across all social classes.

Istoe

The weekly news magazine Istoe has less than half the circulation of Veja, but the title is well-known for its daring reporting. It has published articles about government scandals that other magazines and newspapers have been afraid to run. Istoe was recently responsible for breaking a story involving money laundering through the state-owned bank Banestado. During last year, Istoe almost toppled one of the country's most powerful senators, accused of illegally tapping the telephones of his political and personal rivals. "Istoe has the power to form opinions and the hottest news," Paulo Queiroz, the media vice-president of DM9DDB, says.

MTV

MTV arrived in Brazil in 1990 and has since become one of Brazil's most popular television channels. While the music channel's basic concept was imported from the US, during the past 13 years, MTV Brazil has developed a style all its own. Most of the channel's content is locally produced, giving the channel a distinctive Brazilian flavour. Unlike its North American and European cousins, MTV is not restricted to cable television, but broadcasts on terrestrial TV. "MTV Brazil has style and it consistently creates new programmes that attract a broad range of viewers," Flavio Rezende, the media director of DPZ in Sao Paulo, says.

Rede Record

Rede Record, the third biggest TV network in Brazil, pulls together a mish-mash of programming and is slowly encroaching on the number-two network SBT. It targets the growing number of lower middle-class consumers. The network's biggest success, Turma do Gueto (Ghetto Class), depicts school-life in a Brazilian shantytown.

"People want to see themselves on TV," Luiz Ritton, the media manager of Lodduca Brasil, says. The cast of Ghetto Class is almost entirely black, which is rare for Brazil.

SBT

While Sistema Brasileira de Televisao (SBT) lacks the glitzy production and polished look of its rival Rede Globo, the network has a cadre of loyal viewers, due largely to the network's owner, Silvio Santos. Santos, a former street vendor, is perhaps one of Brazil's most popular television personalities. Santos' Sunday evening marathon programming, which copies the format of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, consistently has 25 per cent of the audience. SBT is also strong on Sunday afternoons, with the programme Domenica Legal (Cool Sunday) hosted by Gugu Liberato. "As companies increase interest in reaching lower middle-class consumers, channels such as SBT offer advertisers lower costs, while still reaching a broad segment of the national market," Gleidys Salvanha, the media manager of the ad agency W/Brasil, says.

Trip

Trip magazine's eclectic editorial style incorporates politics, fashion, culture, extreme sports and travel. Trip focuses on a male audience, but its publishers recently launched Trip for Women, which has also been a success.

"Many other publishers have unsuccessfully tried to imitate Trip," Ritton says. The magazine has a monthly circulation of 50,000, but it reaches a select audience. "If you want to advertise a cool new product, Trip is an essential market," Ritton adds.

TV Globo

Globo has one of the largest audiences of any TV network in the world, regularly claiming 55 per cent of the country's viewers and occasionally nudging 80 per cent, according to Salvanha. The network's novelas dictate fashion and slang and can turn nobodies into overnight celebrities. Globo's nightly news show, Jornal Nacional, is opinion-forming TV. "Globo presents world-class, quality programming that is viewed by people from all social classes," Rezende says.

Universo Online Universo Online (UOL) for years has been the portal of choice for online advertising. Controlled by Folha de Sao Paulo, UOL holds the exclusive content rights to several of Brazil's top magazines and newspapers, including Veja, Playboy and Folha. Brazil still has a long way to go until internet penetration is on a par with Europe or the US, but businesses interested in marketing to middle- and upper-class consumers increasingly use the internet. "While UOL is not as innovative as many of its competitors, in terms of online ads it is the overwhelming leader," Queiroz says.

Veja

Veja has long been Brazil's number-one selling magazine with a weekly circulation of 1.1 million. "Veja is not only the largest, but it is without question the best magazine in Brazil," Queiroz says. Veja has broken many of the country's most important news stories. In 1992, it published an exclusive interview with Pedro Collor, the brother of the then president, Fernando Collor de Mello, which exposed a corruption scheme that eventually led to his downfall.

Veja also publishes a local magazine for the country's most important markets, including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

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