Q&A: Globo’s CEO on How the Latin American Media Giant Is Competing With Netflix

Plus, the challenges of the Brazilian ad market and international growth

Caio Castro stars in Globo TV's 6 p.m. telenovela Novo Mundo which is averaging 33 million viewers a night.
Headshot of Chris Ariens

Carlos Schroder was as surprised as anyone when, five years ago, his billionaire boss, Roberto Marinho, a scion of the family that’s the majority owner of Grupo Globo, tasked him with running the crown jewel of the company—Globo Network.

“I had no experience of management as an executive of a company,” said Schroder, who spent more than 25 years in Globo’s news division. “I was only a journalist.”

From his corner office at Globo’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro in August, Schroder spoke with Adweek about how he’s taking the iconic Brazilian media brand into the future, how he’s competing with Netflix and the legacy of the Olympics in Rio.

“I would say that if today there were a new discussion, Brazil would never host the Olympic Games,” he said.

How was the transition from news to this office?
Carlos Schroder: The transition was a surprise. In 2012, the main shareholder [Marinho] talked about options for the future, and he said, ‘We have other plans for you.’ He said, ‘You can do this business shift, looking to the future, looking at this natural movement of media, of multi screens, a stronger relevance of the content.’ And that was the focus.

What were the one or two big things that you wanted to accomplish quickly to transform the business for the future?
The first is the relevance of content, without question. But we had to work on the image and had to bring with it the strength and the renewal. There was a deep transformation to the brand itself and the way that you could see the logo type of Globo, which used to be very outdated in terms of modernity. It needed to be renewed.

You launched [OTT service] Globo Play in late 2015. How important has it been to the company?
To keep loyalty with the viewers, it was important to have content that was taken to them at any time in whatever situation. We have approximately 14 million users on Globo Play and more than 500,000 subscribers in this first year or year and a half. Connected TV is becoming a huge platform for us. The time spent on connected TV is around 45 minutes, and mobile and desktop and tablets is 35 minutes, a huge amount of time on those devices.

How do you see Netflix? Do you see it as a competitor or someone you can work with? Could you even provide content for Netflix?
No. Netflix is clearly a competitor because in Brazil, we want to see our mission, the environment where Brazilians meet up and consume things to learn, they consume content to obtain information. And the production in Portuguese is a differentiation that we are the only ones doing this. So Netflix is obviously a successful product worldwide, but in Brazil, we understand that we have a closer relationship with our viewers through our products. Netflix has its own path, but we understand our territory. And we have space here to grow our own product.

Who is your biggest international customer for your content?
Today, we have Azteca in Mexico, Univision in the American Hispanic market [and] SIC in Portugal. We have more than 100 countries where we have content being sold. And at the same time, Globo has one channel for Brazilians who live abroad or who speak Portuguese abroad. There’s more than 500,000 who subscribe to this channel alone internationally.

How important is Globo News to the company?
Very important. First, because of the synergetic aspects. It’s vital, essential, especially the crisis that we’re going through so that people can keep up with what is happening. We have breaking news on Globo and continuing on 24-hour Globo News, and look what’s happening now with [digital platform] G1, all integrated as one journalistic environment.

@ChrisAriens chris.ariens@adweek.com Chris Ariens is the managing editor and director of video at Adweek.