São Paulo: “Abril Consolidates Distribution Channels”

The Editora Abril: A media monopoly dedicated to the art of the gabbling ratfink. “The Authoritarian Temptation: The PT’s attempts to monitor and control the press, television and culture.” Translation: “Dilma could decide those zero-down spectrum concessions we got were the fruit of a skeevy plundering of the commonwealth! Bork her with all you’ve got!

The Brazilian journalist does not feel free to write. More than just having to follow the editorial line of the publications they work for, the complaints principally have to do with coercion by political or business groups. –“A Profile of the Brazilian Journalist”

“They think that Abril supports Cardoso’s plan of government. They have it wrong. It is not Abril who supports Cardoso. It is Cardoso who supports Abril’s plan of government.” –attr. to Roberto Civita, Chairman and CEO, Grupo Abril

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane“ –Emperor Marcus Aurelius

The Blog do Rovai (UOL, Brazil) notes the effects of a local business deal involving control of distribution channels for print media in the largest city in South America.

Mr. Rovai edits Fórum magazine here.

One of these days, I am going to work up a systematic report on the banca (“newsstand”) business here in São Paulo.

I have glimpsed enough really peculiar goings-on, and conversed privately and circumspectly with enough proprietors of the curbside newspaper shacks, to think there might be a very interesting local business story here — something along the lines of a story Gary “Wall Street vs. America” Weiss once did about automobile repair shops in the outer boroughs of NYC, say.

One of the things that you notice right off, just from eyeballing the street scene here, is that the free buntings distributed to newsstands are generally either advertisements for Abril or for publications of the Editora Três, which puts out the IstoÉ titles. Abril propaganda tends to dominate, and Abril publications enjoy a much more prominent display.

In the meantime, the Editora Abril’s buyout of a local print distribution company is causing consternation among market observers and players.

Até quinta-feira passada (quando se oficializou a operação em questão) nenhuma das concorrentes de Veja operava com a distribuidora da Editora Abril, a Dinap. Época, Isto É e Carta Capital tinham contratos com a Fernando Chinaglia. Por que isso acontecia? Seria apenas por “charminho” do Alzugaray, do Mino Carta e dos Marinhos?

Up until last Thursday (when the deal in question was finalized), none of Veja magazine’s competitors worked with the Editora Abril’s distributor, Dinap. Época, IstoÉ e CartaCapital magazines all had contracts with Fernando Chinaglia. So why did this happen [Abril’s purchase of the Chinaglia firm]? Just because Alzugaray, Carta and the Marinhos are charming guys?

De agora em diante, ficam à mercê dos interesses dos Civita. Qual o significado disso? Arrisco dizer que a primeira a sentir o impacto vai ser a Carta Capital. É só um chute, mas não sem mira.

From here on out, those publications are going to be at the mercy of Civita and his interests. What does it all mean. I would venture to guess that the first to feel the impact will be CartaCapital. Just a wild guess, but an educated one.

The panicked editor does need to take a deep breath and explain one thing to me, however: Just how much market concentration does this represent?

Give me a quick rundown on the shape and competitive dynamics of local distributors. Hard numbers, please.


A previous note on the deal:

Abril compra Fernando Chinaglia e monopoliza bancas (15/10/2007 15:25)

Abril buys Fernando Chinaglia and monopolizes newsstands.

Acabo de receber um telefonema da Revista Imprensa com o objetivo de repercutir a aquisição da Fernando Chinaglia pela Dinap, empresa de distribuição de revistas da Editora Abril. Quase caí da cadeira.

I just got a call from Revista Imprensa asking me to comment on the buyout of Fernando Chinaglia by Dinap, Abril’s distribution arm. I nearly fell out of my chair.

Isso foi divulgado na quinta-feira, 11, em circular interna da Chinaglia segundo a Revista Imprensa. No mesmo dia 11, a Abril soltou nota sobre o tema. Classifico essa notícia como a pior para o mercado editorial nos últimos anos. É ruim para todos os outros editores que disputam as bancas com a empresa dos Civita e péssima para a liberdade de informação.

This was announced on October 11, in an internal memo that circulated to Chinaglia employees, according to the RI. On the same day, Abril issued a press release on the deal. I believe this is the worst news for the print media market in recent years. It is bad for all publishing houses who compete for space with the Civita publications, and it is bad for freedom of information.

Querem um exemplo? Fórum sempre criticou Veja. Vai continuar a fazê-lo, porque Veja não vai deixar de fazer o jornalismo golpista que a caracteriza. O que você acha que vai acontecer com a Fórum com a compra da Chinaglia pela Dinap? Fórum corre risco de não ser mais distribuída em bancas de todo o Brasil. Outras publicações passam pelo mesmo tipo de situação.

An example? The magazine I edit has always criticized Veja. It is going to continue to do so, too, because Veja is not going to stop practicing the antidemocratic style of journalism that is its stock in trade. What do you think is going to happen to Fórum nowthat Dinap owns Chinaglia? It runs the risk of no longer being distributed to newsstands throughout Brazil. Other publications will suffer from the same fate.

Algo precisa ser feito urgentemente. As bancas de jornais não podem virar um monopólio de uma única editora. Ainda mais da Abril, comprometida até a alma com a concentração midiática e o golpismo.

Something urgently needs to be done. Newsstands cannot become a monopoly controlled by a single publisher. Especially not Abril, which is committed with all its heart to concentration of media ownership and the antidemocratic tendency.

Já entramos em contato com a assessoria de imprensa do Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (Cade), que nos disse que o processo passa primeiro pela Secretaria de Direito Econômico do Ministério da Justiça. E aí ministro Tarso Genro, isso pode? Uma única empresa tem o direito de controlar a distribuição de informação em pontos de venda?

We have already contacted the press office of the federal antitrust regulator, CADE, who told us the matter will be taken up first by the Ministry of Justice’s Secretary of Economic Law. So, then, Minister Genro, can they do this? Can a single firm control the distribution of information to points of sale?

Convoco a todos a repassar essa noticia para o maior número possível de colegas e militantes da democratização das comunicações. É preciso iniciar um movimento contra essa ameaça de monopólio já, antes que se torne um fato consumado.

I invite everyone to pass this news along to as many colleagues and media democracy activists as possible. We need to get a movement going against this threatened monopoly, and right now, before it becomes a fait accompli.

As you know, I am utterly prejudiced in this matter.

I do not buy any Abril infotainment products simply because — I have studied the matter some, and continue to do so — the “journalism” they produce is just absurdly mendacious and bone-rattlingly stupid.

Insulting to the intelligence of the average man on the street stupid.

“Toxic sludge is good for you” stupid.

“Hillary Clinton has unprotected butt sex with Fidel Castro!” stupid.

I am not just exaggerating for effect here.

I have never seen anything like it.

I have read about such things in history books, of course, but to be faced with it when you go out to buy your daily paper — we are semiloyal Estadão readers at the moment, though really, out of an abundance of caution, all output from these major news organizations have to be boiled carefully and cross-checked before they are fit to consume — is really a shock to the system.

One of the most mind-bending cases of the type of “journalism” practiced there, I think:

Nothing has changed.

And see, more generally,


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