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The (Big) State of Brazilian Journalism

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Pitiful, how the Estado de S. Paulo metro daily has taken to the production of quasi-fake news of late, in the form of topical coverage of conference events produced by the newspaper itself for its various clients and then reported on as if objectively newsworthy.  Continue reading

Brazil | Clicktivism and the Impeachment Question

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It is being reported widely here in  Brazil that turnout for this past weekend’s pro-impeachment demonstrations was markedly lower — by  200% or more in the most visible of urban congregations — than that of the March impeachment rallies, themselves inflated by fancy  camera angles from news photographers.

Some 500 marchers turned out to call for the downfall of the Rousas much asseff government in Salvador, Bahia, for example — an electoral redoubt of the Workers Party since the defeat of Carlismo — a sort of regional Brazilian version of Mexico’s PRI — in recent elections.

The Radar column of Veja magazine suggests that this lack of activism be weighed against what is treated as a significant volume of supporting «clicktivist» chatter on «the social networks» …

But beware the clicktivist fallacy: the notion that computer and network users represent a segment of the population proportional to support for a given proposition.

Factor in the digital divide, in other words.

For example, if 52% of the population uses the Internet, including mobile Internet — 103 million Brazilians — and 48% does not, how representative are half a million Internauts discussing impeachment for good or ill?

Continue reading

Editora Abril | Death of an Aging Playboy

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The dismantling of the Editora Abril publishing house continues. Abril has just announced it will cease publishing Playboy, Men’s Health and Women’s Health.

Source: Jornal GGN (Luis Nassif)

A former magazine executive at Abril who served on a number of its publications, reports that in recent days the circulation of Playboy has fallen to a mere 15,000, while Placar has sold only 8,000. According to this same former senior editor, Veja magazine sells no more than 400,000 nationwide.

Abril did not offer to return sums paid for subscriptions to the cancelled publications. Subscribes will have to select other titles.
The closing of these former heavyweight circulation champions was described, in a note issued by Abril, as «part of a deep and daring change in the company begun last year with a review of our product portfolio and a radical reshaping of Abril products offered to its readership, its advertisers and its agents.»
The new approach, according to this note, will consist of working with the subscriber database and offering integrated advertising on products offered through a variety of media.
More specifically, Abril will create channels known as «Big Data (ABD – Abril Big Data) and Branded Content (Studio ABC – Abril Branded Content).
A memorable Playboy cover (above) was this tropical Fawn Hall — Mônica Veloso » — in a sex scandal targeting the president of the Senate.
As it turned out, the same attorney negotiating a preview of the witness testimony was also negotiating the half million-dollar fee for «baring all». As I described it at the time,
Mônica Veloso is a TV Globo journalist and [PMDB] political marketing entrepreneur who (1) had an affair with the president of the Brazilian Senate, (2) wound up bearing him a daughter, and then (3) negotiated a child-support agreement that (4) became the subject of a media-driven political scandal.
Editora Abril, controlled by the  Civita family, announces it will no longer publish Playboy, one of its most traditional titles, with 40 years in the market. In the grip of a financial crisis, Abril, which also publishes Veja magazine … has found it difficult to adapt to the digital era, not only in the erotic magazine market but in other areas as well. Other magazines may be closed in the coming months and Abril itself may be sold.
 Portal Imprensa:

Além dos três títulos, a Abril já havia se desfeito de algumas outras marcas em 2015. Em junho, IMPRENSA informou que a editora havia demitido 120 funcionários e vendido títulos como Placar, Contigo, Você SA, Você RH, Ana Maria, Tititi e Arquitetura e Construção, repassadas à Editora Caras.

No mesmo mês, a revista Educar para Crescer foi descontinuada e Guia Quatro Rodas incorporada às revistas Viagem e Turismo, Veja São Paulo e Veja Rio.

PT | Sue You Too

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Source:  PT (Brazilian political party)

The national president of the Workers’ Party,  Rui Falcão, announced today (February 11), that the party will sue former Petrobras manager Pedro Brausco, who accused the finance secretary of our party, João Vaccari Neto, of acting as a go-between in illegal fundraising for the party, without presenting any proof of this accusation.

Continue reading

Mexico | IBOPE and the Ratings Wars

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When global giant WPP acquired control over the Brazilian market research firm IBOPE in December of last year for an estimated R$ 200 million, I made a note to try and follow the move-out and the load-in of the newly hyphenated IBOPE//NetRatings.

First of all, the stake in IBOPE was acquired by Kantar, not directly by the enormous WPP.

 

WPP’s Kantar unit acquired a controlling stake in IBOPE to expand its presence in the global media and marketing research business. As Mediapost noted, “IBOPE is to Latin America what Nielsen is in the U.S.”

Correction: the new Brazilian entity is known as IBOPE Nielsen and consists of a former partnership dating back to 1998. Shades of Globo and Time-Life?

The final closing of the deal was reported last December 17.

What interests me is the triumvirate of WPP and IBOPE, the latter of which has received its share of criticism from clients in its own market, and, on the other hand, Nielsen. As it turns out, Nielsen has encountered extreme hostility on the part of its Mexican clients and competitors as well.

The W$J did a story on mounting tensions among the parties in March.

Here is a more recent report from W$J in PT-Br), picked up second hand. Continue reading

Taiana Bares All | Brazil’s Operation Car Wash

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Photo: Autumn Sonnichsen/ Divulgação Playboy

Wearing high heels and covered in dollar bills, the former lover of the currency trader [Youssef] appears on the cover of the January edition of Playboy posing in hotel rooms and private jets. She told the magazine that she was “the first person he messaged after he was arrested.”

As I have noted before, every knock down drag out political scandal has its muse or poster child — a figure, usually an attractive woman who, to coin a phrase, “lays bare the facts” or some such analogy as that.

As Veja and Playboy are both Abril publications, it is not difficult to imagine how Taiana became the Goddess of Truth. Create a poster child with scandalous overtones  Divert attention from other significant  aspects of the case until you can measure the results and decide how — and against whom — to proceed.

Mountains of Money

This meme is a close cousin to the Mountain of Money concept in South American news media, itself a corollary to  the Perp Walk — a standard procedure for Brazilian police.

In Ecuador several years ago in an election won by the leftist Rafael Correa, the viciousness of the smear campaign by the local media was astonishing. Mobilized against Correa,  Ecuadoran TV and radio in general have to be seen to be believed , as is, or was, the case in Venezuela.

A case I remember well was an anti-Chavist talk show host who displayed a parking lot full of colorful HMMVVVs and identified them as constituting bribes to members of the government. A clever researcher was able to pin down the exact location of the photo — a HMMMVV dealership in Southern California. A sign was crudely Photoshopped in an attempt to identify the parking lot as government property in Venezuela. Grotesque.

Continue reading

Grupo Abril | Required Reading Requisition

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The Abril publishing and media group has a long, proud history of adherence to that Golden Rule of the mainstream Brazilian media: “For our friends, anything; for our enemies, the Law.”

It began its life franchising Walt Disney content for Portuguese-speaking readers, which makes for an interesting but at the moment irrelevant story.

The group has been diversifying through M&A in recent years and months,  including the purchase of two  major schoolbook titles and a (rumored) relationship with the Huffington Post  (news item) to assist it with its Web operations (which badly need some purely technical attention, if I may say so). Sometime in the last few years it sold 30% of itself to the South African Naspers — a factory for churned out apartheid presidents in South Africa for decades — a couple of years ago.

Fazendo Media, a modest Ford Foundation-funded watchdog project, explains how politics and the press walk hand in hand like Tweedle Dum and Dee. See also:

Source:  Rede Brasil Atual, Fazendo Media

Continue reading

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