At Globo TV, they like to say that every day is a Super Bowl. The expression has nothing to do with sports—instead, it refers to the fact that a staggering 100 million people watch the Brazilian network at some point throughout the broadcast day.
“We have a population of 200 million,” said Globo Network CEO Carlos Schroder. “So half the country [watches] Globo on a daily basis.”
At any point during a 24-hour period, Globo has a 50 share of the country’s audience, according to Kantar-owned Ibope Media, giving it a commanding lead over its four commercial TV competitors.
For Schroder, a 33-year veteran of the network who was promoted to CEO five years ago, the sheer size of the audience is both rewarding and daunting.
“When I took office we defined a very clear mission: every time slot that we have has to have the relevance to deserve to be aired,” he said during an interview in his Rio de Janeiro office, the famed Christ the Redeemer statue looming from the window and the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana in the distance.
With 12,000 employees, Schroder asserts that he has one main job: “My mission here is to make my whole team restless all the time, the whole time. To motivate. To look for something different.”
In late 2015, Globo launched OTT platform Globo Play with an ad-supported model, and, for less than $5 a month, a subscription livestream with thousands of hours of bonus content. Fourteen million people have downloaded the app. A half million are paying subscribers. “It’s becoming an experimentation platform for us,” said Eduardo Becker, Globo’s digital media ad sales director. “In one series that was 10 chapters, we put nine [on] digital first and the last chapter on TV.”
Unlike most networks in the U.S., Globo is almost entirely the sole creator of its own content. Ninety-six percent of what airs on Globo TV is produced by Globo, most of it at a 129-acre complex located in the foothills of the Atlantic Forest in Rio. In an arrangement that brings to mind the old Hollywood studio system, Globo’s 352 actors, 254 writers and 183 directors work under long-term contracts producing 3,000 hours of content every year. “We have reorganized our operations to become a real studio where we can develop stories for different platforms,” said Monica Albuquerque, Globo’s director of talent and development.
The network’s programming includes five hours of live news every day, four evening telenovelas, a mixture of lifestyle and talk shows and sports—mostly soccer. Globo owns five stations in Brazil’s biggest cities and has 123 affiliates nationwide.
“The relationship with the affiliate companies is as a mother company,” explained Schroder. “We need their reliability and trust.”
Schroder also sees potential in looking beyond Brazil. The network, which has local sales offices in Miami, Portugal, Angola and Japan, offers international channels for Portuguese speakers worldwide (including the 1.5 million Brazilians who live in the U.S.) and sells its shows to networks in more than 70 countries, including Univision in the U.S., Azteca in Mexico and networks in Argentina, Spain, China and Russia.
“We are taking the Brazilian values, the Brazilian culture, the Brazilian talent outside Brazil,” said Raphael Correa, executive director of international business. “As long as you create universal stories, it really works.”
Meanwhile, back home, the network has had to grapple with a tumultuous political and economic climate. Brazil is in the midst of a recession following years of high-flying growth, then a rapid fall, including corruption scandals that left one former president indicted and his successor impeached.
“The last two or three years were not great years from a standpoint of growth, economic growth,” said Schroder.
In the most recent quarter, Globo’s parent company reported a 9 percent drop in net revenue and a 13 percent decline in advertising sales. Advertising makes up 62 percent of the group’s total revenue.
“We see that this crisis in Brazil is structural,” remarked advertising sales director Marcelo Duarte, a 30-year Globo veteran. “We have to continue doing what we are doing, and just be prepared for getting back on track. We believe that the country is going to get on track in ’18.”
The year ahead looks promising for Globo, at least. The network, which was the Brazilian rights holder for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, has already secured $130 million in advertising commitments for several major sports events in 2018, including the World Cup. Meanwhile, as cable subscriptions slide, Globo’s broadcast network continues to see the biggest share of audience night after night.
“The greatest pride I have is to see the results of the work done by this group of people,” said Schroder. “When you see a great mass of Brazilians following every night—it’s incredible.”