World Media 2006: Latin America

The region's major economies are blighted by boom-bust cycles, political instability, crime and corruption, yet its advertising and media industries are as diverse and energetic as anywhere.

Out of adversity come style, panache and creative genius. That's the theory, at any rate - and one that many in the media and advertising industries of South America readily subscribe to.

How else to explain the fact that, although the region's major economies go through desperate boom-bust cycles, are riddled with crime and corruption and flirt occasionally with the most repressive of military regimes, its media and advertising industries are consistently as vibrant as any you'll find anywhere.

Take Argentina, whose economy, after a run of dismal years in the 90s, collapsed completely in 2001. There were riots in the streets, four presidents came and went in the space of ten days and the peso was massively devalued, wiping out the life savings of the country's middle classes at a stroke.

As a result, more than 50 per cent of the population dropped below the poverty line.

Business as usual, the cynics said. And yet, did any of this stop the citizens of Buenos Aires being the coolest people on the planet? Hardly.

It's their birthright - and they exude a spectacular gaucho arrogance that pervades not just Argentina but also neighbouring Brazil and other South and Central American creative centres.

It's true that the rest of the world does not always see it that way.

Take, for instance, the sour protests whipped up to greet George Bush as he attended the Buenos Aires Summit of the Americas in November - at the head of the march was a fat, formerly drug-addled, rather pathetic one-time footballer, called Diego Maradona.

Yet the freshness of the creative ideas that emerge from the region and the energetic diversity of its media are undeniable facts - and if it wasn't for economic and political instability, the rest of the world would be keener to develop closer ties.

Greater stability would also help to foster a clearer regional identity - something that was clearly top-of- mind at a recent meeting held in Venezuela at which the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay agreed to fund the launch of a pan-Latin American television channel - in a bid to wrest the international news agenda back from the likes of CNN.

Its progress will be closely watched by the the rest of the world - especially now that Rupert Murdoch has decreed that South American expansion will be one of the highest priorities for his newly acquired DirecTV business.

TOP 20 FASTEST-GROWING AD MARKETS USdollars million at current prices. Rank Country Year-on-year Total spend Total spend % change (est) 2005 (est) 2004 1 Brazil 41.4 6,579 4,653 2 Saudi Arabia/pan-Arab 29.3 3,183 2,462 3 UAE 27.2 814 640 4 Russia 26.8 4,890 3,855 5 Egypt 26.1 647 514 6 Bulgaria 23.1 374 304 7 India 21.9 3,705 3,039 8 Indonesia 18.0 3,095 2,622 9 Turkey 18.0 1,621 1,374 10 Romania 16.4 239 205 11 Estonia 16.0 91 79 12 China 15.0 9,716 8,449 13 Argentina 14.7 1,148 1,001 14 Lithuania 14.1 137 120 15 Hungary 13.2 2,472 2,184 16 Vietnam 13.0 297 263 17 Latvia 12.4 107 96 18 Philippines 11.4 646 580 19 South Africa 11.2 2,643 2,376 20 Hong Kong 11.2 2,499 2,247 ADVERTISING EXPENDITURE USdollars million at current prices. *Estimated Total TV Newspapers Magazines Radio 1994 12,531 6,629 3,544 953 1,004 1995 12,861 6,807 3,758 942 871 1996 14,669 7,786 4,069 1,102 1,140 1997 16,948 8,959 4,700 1,351 1,284 1998 17,588 9,252 4,850 1,407 1,300 1999 15,589 8,336 4,002 1,249 1,291 2000 16,725 9,372 3,711 1,447 1,457 2001 15,498 8,688 3,635 1,268 1,309 2002 12,383 7,462 2,679 832 1,032 2003 12,859 7,451 2,710 863 1,294 2004 14,462 8,694 2,872 954 1,381 2005 15,144 9,063 2,926 1,094 1,460 2006* 16,074 9,597 3,020 1,275 1,537 2007* 17,275 10,327 3,138 1,504 1,624 2008* 20,551 12,515 3,939 1,850 1,512 Total Outdoor Online Cinema 1994 12,531 347 0 53 1995 12,861 429 0 54 1996 14,669 510 0 61 1997 16,948 580 0 74 1998 17,588 690 1 88 1999 15,589 611 2 98 2000 16,725 637 3 98 2001 15,498 496 2 101 2002 12,383 322 5 52 2003 12,859 417 68 55 2004 14,462 424 71 66 2005 15,144 452 76 75 2006* 16,074 485 82 79 2007* 17,275 506 88 88 2008* 20,551 665 3 67 Year-on-year % change (estimated) Brazil 41.4 Argentina 14.7 Mexico 7.7 Chile 6.6 Peru 5.3 Colombia 1.1 Venezuela 0.3 Panama -1.3 Uruguay -1.7

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