TV Record: “Globo is a Cancer on the Nation!”

We were just watching TV Record’s evening newscast — a glitzy new feature on “Brazil’s Most Wanted” that we decided wasn’t too bad, really, by local standards, although with many of the same infotainment trappings you see on Globo’s Fantástico — and saw one of the most astonishing things we have ever seen in our life.

On TV, anyway.

TV Record interrupted its programming and aired a reply — in the form of a simple scrolling text, on a blue background, with a voiceover — to a story going around according to which Globo is trying to challenge the legality of the Record’s new 24-hour news channel in São Paulo.

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There is apparently a 1963 decree-law against one firm broadcasting over two channels in the same city. Of course, the guy who issued the decree-law was later removed from office by the generalissimos who gave Globo its leg up as a nationwide TV monopoly, in return for congratulating them for doing so.

Even so, I guess it is still on the books, for all the good it ever did.

As I mentioned, the new channel uses facilities for a preexisting channel, TV Mulher, which, Record explained in its note, broadcasts from another city in the state, but is relayed into São Paulo through a retransmitter. There is some parsing of legal language to be done over what the verb gerar means in this context.

I am waiting for Record to release the text on its Web site — in which, among other jaw-dropping things, it says that “the media monopoly is a cancer on the nation,” refers acidly to Globo’s notorious subservience to the military dictatorship, and claims that a Rio court is looking into alleged falsification of documents in Globo’s 1960 application for a TV license in Rio.

Well, then. This, my friends, is a case of what I like to call the “armed media monopoly wars.” A sport more vicious than Ultimate Fighting (which is dominated, of course, by Brazilian athletes).

Imagine Walter Cronkite taking time out from reading the news to slag on Huntley and Brinkley and Harry Reasoner.

I would actually rather have heard more about Brazil’s most wanted.

I am interested to see if Record really intends to take a new approach to law-enforcement journalism (on which see above).

The news story is from A Noticia Digital (Mato Grosso), but I think they are just running the story originally published in the Folha de S. Paulo, referred to in the Record on-the-air statement, just now.

Without attribution. That’s “digital journalism 2.0” for you.

Compare Bandeirantes, in its crusade against what it claims are the rival Abril’s shady dealings (its PlayTV is now challenging Abril’s MTV Brasil on its own turf):

The Estadão group, in general, has had bad things to say about both Globo and Record, and seems to question whether Record is not a Globo antidote that closely resembles the disease.

It’s a fair question to ask — in the opinion section, not in the news hole, however.

I am curious myself.

Because you know, there are people of various political persuasions down here who think that Brazilian TV is just gruesomely and shamefully awful. And judging from watching some of this stuff myself — I except televised zebu auctions because I actually find those fascinating, and the Radiobras channel, which no nobody watches, and Castelo Rá-Tim-Bum, and Record’s Vidas Opostas — I think they have a real point.

O bispo Edir Macedo, da Igreja Universal, inaugurou nesta semana sua mais nova provocação à Rede Globo: a Record News. Dias antes, o vice-presidente de relações institucionais das Organizações Globo, Evandro Guimarães, estivera em Brasília. Queixara-se a autoridades do governo de que, ao levar ao ar o seu canal de notícias 24 horas, em rede de aberta, a Record passaria a operar dois canais televisão numa mesma cidade, São Paulo. O que seria vedado por lei.

Bishop Edir Macedo of the Universal Church inaugurated his latest provocation against the Globo Network this week: Record News. Days before, the vice-president of institutional relations of the Globo Organizations, Evandro Guimarães, had been in Brasilia, complaining to government officials that, by setting up a 24-hour news channel on the open airwaves, Record was now operating two TV channels in the same city. Which is allegedly against the law.

O queixume do vice-presidente institucional da Globo aportou inclusive nos ouvidos do Ministro das Comunicações, Hélio Costa, a quem cabe zelar pelo sistema de concessões televisivas. Informou-se ao ministro que, além da Globo, também a Rede Bandeirantes compartilhava da reclamação contra a Record.

The loud complaining of Globo’s top lobbyist even wound up in the ears of the Minister of Communications, [former Globo talking head] Hélio Costa, whose job it is to manage television concession. The minister was informed that, not just Globo, but also Bandeirantes was complaining about Record.

Na noite de quinta-feira (27), tendo Lula a seu lado, Edir Macedo, alheio aos muxoxos da concorrência, acionou o botão que marcou o início das operações da Record News. Aproveitou para espicaçar a Globo. Disse que dará fim ao “monopólio”. Prometeu “cutucar o fígado” da rival.

Last Thursday night, with President Lula at his side, Macedo, ignoring the grumblings of his competitors, pushed the button that put Record News on the air, using the opportunity to needle Globo. He said he would put an end to the “monopoly.” He promised to “poke [his rivals] where it made them the maddest.

Duopolies are not much better.

Just ask the poor Mexicans.

No dia seguinte, reuniram-se em São Paulo, representantes das maiores redes de TV do país. Deu-se num encontro da Abert (Associação Brasileira de Emissoras de Rádio e Televisão). Estavam em volta da mesa, entre outros, o presidente da Record, Alexandre Raposo; presidente do Conselho Editorial das Organizações Globo, João Roberto Marinho; e Evandro Guimarães, emissário da Globo aos gabinetes de Brasília.

The next day, in São Paulo, representatives of Brazil’s largest TV networks met, during a meeting of ABERT, the Brazilian Association of Radio and TV Broadcasters. Around the table were, among others: Raposo of Record; Marinho, president of the Editorial Council of the Globo Organizations; and Guimarães.

Raposo fez rápida menção à inauguração da véspera. Um sucesso, segundo suas palavras. Curiosamente, Marinho e Guimarães não disseram palavra acerca das restrições legais que a Globo faz ao novo empreendimento da Record.

Raposo alluded in passing to the inaguaration the previous day. It was a success, in his words. Curiously, Marinho and Guimarães said not a word about the legal restrictions Globo wants to place on Record’s new venture.

Como ainda não recebeu nenhuma representação formal, o Ministério das Comunicações evita emitir posição oficial sobre as desavenças. Nos subterrâneos do ministério, porém, diz-se que, de fato, Lula pode ter prestigiado a inauguração de uma ilegalidade.

As it has not yet received a formal reprentation on the matter, the Ministry of Communications is avoided taking an official position. In the undergound chambers of the ministry, however, it is being said that, in fact, Lula may have lent his prestige to the inauguration of an illegal venture.

Being said by whom?

Danny the Gnome?

Wake me when somebody willing to give their name — and has the legitimate authority to make or advise on decision-making, to boot — has something stronger than a “maybe” to offer.

Reza o decreto 52.795, de 1963, que uma mesma empresa não pode controlar duas geradoras de TV numa única praça. A regra visa coibir a concentração de mercado. Ao transformar a TV Mulher em Record News, a empresa de Edir Macedo passou a gerir, desde São Paulo, sob logotipos que remetem para a mesma razão social, duas geradoras de TV aberta em São Paulo, a velha Record e a novíssima Record News. O problema não existiria se a Record News fosse transmitida em canal fechado, pago.

Under decree 52,705 of 1963, the same firm cannot control two TV “generators” in a single market. The rule is aimed at inhibiting market concentration.

Yeah, and look how well that has worked.

Record notes that Band operates both Bandeirantes and Play TV (a [noxious] rival to Abril’s [noxious] MTV Brasil). So nyah!

In transforming TV Mulher into Record News, Macedo’s firm starting running, from São Paulo, under the same branding, two open-air broadcasters in São Paulo, the old Record and the brand new Record News. The problem would not exist if Record News were translated on a closed circuit, on a subscription model.

Mas a emissora fez da abertura das transmissões, oferecida gratuitamente, um de seus diferenciais em relação às congêneres da concorrência: Globo News e Band News. Daí as queixas. Resta saber se as rivais da Record transformarão as caretas exibidas entre quatro paredes numa reclamação formal ao Ministério das Comunicações, que obrigaria a pasta de Hélio Costa a encomendar um parecer à sua Consultoria Jurídica.

But the broadcaster has made of the open-air transmission, offered free of charge, one of the competitive differentiators of the project, alongside Globo News and Band News. Thus the complaints. It remains to be see whether Record’s rivals will translate their angry grimaces behind close doors into a formal complaint to the MiniCom, which would oblige Costa to request an opinion from his ministeral legal counsel.

Para além dos aspectos legais, a irritação dos concorrentes da Record esconde uma inquietação de natureza comercial. Operando o seu canal de notícias 24 horas em rede aberta, além de oferecer gratuitamente aos telespectadores um serviço pelo qual a concorrência cobra, a Record credencia-se para avançar sobre o filão de anunciantes, hoje dividido entre Globo News e Band News.

Beyond the legal aspects, the irritation by Record’s competitors conceals concerns of a commercial nature. Operating a news channel 24 hours a day on an open broadcast channel, as well as offering viewers, for free, a service for which competitors charge, Record puts itself in a position to move up in the market for advertisers, which Globo and Band currently divvy up between them.

More sound and fury than a sackful of cats!

And more interesting to read about — unfortunately — than watching a lot of the TV programming on offer, too.

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