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Globo Group

Overview

This profile considers the Brazilian broadcaster and publisher Organizações Globo.


It covers -

  • introduction
  • the group
  • development
  • studies

Introduction

Globo is the dominant commercial television broadcaster in Brazil, overshadowing the Abril group's TVA. It claims around 75% of Brazilian television advertising spending. Measured by audience it is considered by some commentators to be the fourth largest television network in the world, although in terms of revenue it is smaller than most US groups profiled on this site and in audience ranks well behind the state-owned networks of China and India.

The group

Like the Venezuelan Cisneros group it is a conglomerate.

In Brazil it owns radio stations, daily newspapers (O Globo, Extra, Valor Economico), Época weekly magazine and other publications, the Cabo Globo and Globosat cable and satellite tv services (70% of the Brazilian market), the Som Livre record company, film production interests and a theme park.

It also has manufacturing, property, insurance, banking and construction interests. Overall employment is around 23,000 people. An indication of holdings is here.

Development

The Rio-based Organizações Globo SA group dates from 1925 when Roberto Marinho (1904-2003) took control of the family's O Globo newspaper. His father had founded O Globo after selling the O Noite paper but died soon after.

Keeping on the right side of the government and enjoying the economic boom of the early 1940s, Roberto expanded into radio - establishing a national network from 1944 onwards - before moving into television during the 1960s.

Daniel Herz's book The Secret History of the Globo Network (not sighted during development of this profile) is reported as claiming that much of the network's early success was attributable to a controversial joint venture with Time-Life. That partnership, subsequently disallowed by Brazil's Supreme Court under that nation's restrictive foreign investment regime, reportedly involved direct investment by Time of over US$6 million between 1962 and 1966. Globo's US partner also provided personnel, technical support and training regarding broadcast technology, marketing and administration.

TV Globo - initially through terrestrial broadcast but later through cable and satellite - was stunningly successful, in particular through wall-to-wall telenovelas (soap operas), explored in Elizabeth Fox's Latin American Broadcasting: From Tango to Soap Opera (Luton: Uni of Luton Press 1997).

Despite problems with exchange rates (significant given massive borrowings from the US and limited success with investments in Europe, where a stake in Franco-Italian tv broadcaster TeleMonteCarlo was sold to the Ferruzzi family) and the Brazilian economy the group has subsequently expanded into telecommunications and online services. An indication of its history is here.

Studies

There is no substantial English-language study of the Marinho family or Globo group. Latin Politics, Global Media (Austin: Uni of Texas Press 2002), co-edited by Elizabeth Fox & Silvio Waisbord, is essential reading, as is the succinct Political Clientalism & the Media: Southern Europe & Latin America in Comparative Perspective (PDF) by Daniel Hallin & Stylianos Papathanassopoulos and papers in Television, Politics & the Transition to Democracy in Latin America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Uni Press 1993) edited by Thomas Skidmore.

Helena Sousa's paper Crossing the Atlantic: Globo's Wager in Portugal offers intelligent comments on Globo's experience in Portugal, supplemented by her 1996 dissertation Communications Policy in Portugal & Its Links with the European Union: An Analysis of Telecommunications & Television Broadcasting Sectors from the Mid-1980s until the Mid-1990's.