Television: a Key Part of Brazilian Culture

Popular culture tv_by Carla Leon CelayaBy Carla León Celaya

The strong sense of identity that Brazilians share leads them to invest their time and money in
television.

Despite a decline in consumer confidence in the first few months of this year, as reported in
Trading Economics, popular culture is driving Brazilian society to stay connected under the most
widespread media.

Brazil is the largest country in South America. It’s widespread media, especially TV, allows the
northern side—Roraima—all the way to the opposite end—Rio Grande do Sul—to share the language, music, art, religion, and film that makes this nation unique.

With a gap between social classes, it may seem that not everyone has an equal opportunity to be
connected through media.

But, “even 10 years ago, Brazil was not what it is now,” said Brian Winter, chief correspondent
for Reuters. “Inequality has been reduced, and 35 million people have come out of poverty.”

And most of those people own a television.

A 2006 report showed that 96 percent of households in Brazil owned a television set. The number
would be even higher if Brazil reported the number of households that own a black and white television set.

Even some taxis have a TV, where the drivers may find themselves watching a soccer match or
the finale of a telenovela. Despite economic struggle or social status, people invest in a TV because it expresses an idea, attitude or belief that is accepted by many.

Additionally, several stations such as Rede Record, TV Globo and Brazilian System of Television
offer a broad coverage of information that targets different age groups and social classes.

Founded in 1953 by Paulo Machado Carvalho, Rede Record is the oldest TV channel and the
second most popular television network; Globo is its main competitor.

According to Gilson Silveira, communications manager at Rede Record, the journalism is the
main asset that brings large numbers of viewers.

“Our journalism is well-respected in Brazil because we are always live,” said Silveira. “There is
15 hours of live programming every day, from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.”

Besides news, Rede Record airs sports, comedies, shows with an audience, and telenovelas.

“Since the ‘50s, telenovelas have been popular in Brazil,” said Silveira. “Whenever there is a
finale for a telenovela there is around 70 percent of the population watching.”

According to Silveira, TV Globo is the largest television exporter and producer of telenovelas.

It’s no surprise that so many people own a television set and watch the telenovelas. The popular
drama series depict important issues that Brazilians face on a daily basis—love, robberies, child
trafficking, and extreme poverty. These are all factors that influence society in one way or another.

Nonetheless, telenovelas tend to attract more Class C viewers (lower class) than Class A or B. The
issues are more relatable to someone who is experiencing them, than to ones who are mere bystanders.

Popular culture_skytram_by Carla Leon Celaya

“Record is a news channel of the masses,” said Silveira. “Yet, our research shows that we have a
lot of Class A viewers.”

Moreover, the tendencies of the elite class take are toward daily news and hard facts. And maybe
even foreign programs.

According to Silveira, American TV also is very prevalent in Brazil because of the popularity of
cable TV.

“Brazilians now have easy access to American channels,” said Silveira.

Based on Teleco’s 2013 report on Pay TV, there are about 16.8 million subscribers; direct-tohome satellite accounts for 61.7 percent of the subscribers, while cable TV is 37.7 percent.

The telenovelas, foreign programs and other shows make up a major part of Brazil’s popular
culture.

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