Tv Cultura is an institution founded in Sao Paulo in 1967 as part of the Padre Anchieta Foundation. The Padre Anchieta Foundation was created in order to help culture and education reach a broader audience through mass media. Padre Anchieta was a very well known Jesuit and educator from the first colonial missions who has a strong image in Brazil. The mission of TV Cultura is the diffusion of Brazilian audio-visual culture and the formation of public opinion on culture, democracy and arts. TV Cultura strives to educate both adults and children in order to ameliorate the culture of the Sao Paolo area by creating a space where young people can experiment, spread culture, law and justice.
TV Cultura has six TV channels, two radio stations, one museum, one theatre and more recently a web platform (IPTV). The institution offers a variety of services: DVDs, books, documentaries, web sites etc.
The buildings of TV Cultura are furnished with many art works, mostly paintings. Many artists donate their works in order to have them shown as props during filming. After many years of art donations, TV Cultura owns a significant collection that is sometimes shown in exhibitions (for example at the Museum de Casa Brasileira).
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TV Cultura’s Clients
Usually the clients of TV Cultura include the Brazilian state, court of justice (offers the fastest election results), institutions, public foundations and very often international organizations such as UNICEF and UNESCO. Brazilian public TV employs TV Cultura. Mr. Almeida explained that TV Cultura used to have a strong internal production (pre and post production of movies, cartoons, TV programmes etc.) but in recent years it has been trying to outsource some of these activities. The organization buys some programs from foreign countries, but programs related to Brazilian culture are still the focus. TV Cultura has partnerships with PBS (USA), CBS (Canada), BBC, as well as TV stations in Angola, Mozambique and East Timor. Mr. Almeida said that TV Cultura does not have the distribution structure of a big producer like American television or the means to translate its programs into other languages, but it does export some content to certain markets, mainly Portuguese speaking. Portugal buys a lot of programs from Brazil, but usually big commercial productions so TV Cultura tries to mix commercial and art in order to increase the impact on people.
Financing TV Cultura
TV Cultura is equally dedicated to providing services and producing programs. At the beginning TV Cultura was completely financed by the state. Today its revenues come from the public sector (40%), services and advertisements (60%). Their budget is $ 90 million. For most TV stations commercials are the main source of revenue, but for TV Cultura advertising is not a very big part of its revenues (just some select commercials). Children’s television is ad-free for 12 hours per day. Mr. Almeida explained that they are trying to move towards the PBS model, a non-profit public broadcasting television service.
Content, Audience and Activities
The TV Cultura channels are free for viewers except for the children’s channel. 400,000 children per day watch the channel dedicated to kids and 2,000,000 children per day will watch even for a little while (this is not much compared to the rest, but it is a niche TV channel). TV Cultura’s signal reaches 40 million households.
In terms of what TV Cultura is broadcasting, they choose whatever is not common, whatever is not particularly researched or used, whatever has not been saturated. They like looking to explore and increase whatever is new and interesting that they discover in theatre, music, ballet etc. They prefer productions that are not appealing to commercial TV.
TV Cultural also produces experimental programs for the artistic avant-garde (eg program “direction” mixing TV and theatre). TV Cultura has a partnership with the SESCs and with some dance companies and in this way, they are trying to form critical citizens and increase social participation by creating a space where people can show their creations.
Some of TV cultura’s offers include:
- A TV station in Brasilia for the tribunal and a cable TV station in Sao Paulo for the parliament.
- A’Uwe, a program that since 2008 has been spreading and discussing indigenous issues in the country.
- DOC.TV is the program for the production and broadcasting of Brazilian documentaries. It is produced country-wide and not just the best documentaries are selected but those that most express the local spirit that they are trying to capture. DOC.TV was the inspiration for the creation of DOCTV Ibero-america, co-producing and broadcasting documentaries in 13 Latin American countries, plus Portugal and Spain.
- Anima TV is for animation. TV Cultura funds and commissions productions for this program.
Through satellite the programs of TV Cultura are sent to all of Brazil. Other regions of Brazil do not have the infrastructure in order for TV Cultura to have branches, so TV Cultura simply sends some of its programs to University TVs and public TVs all over Brazil that then broadcast to those regions. This is one of the reasons why TV Cultura has joint ventures with almost all public channels in Brazil.
In the beginning TV Cultura was gathering the materials for their productions. Today, people from the subcultures themselves produce the material and then give them to TV Cultura.
Commercial vs. Independent Productions
TV Cultura differentiates between commercial and independent productions because they speak completely different languages. The organization often collaborates with independent labels and sometimes with independent movie or documentary makers. Sometimes they directly commission work from external producers and other times they buy ready products. They try to collaborate with and buy from local producers in order to introduce television programs and documentaries that treat very local topics like “Neighborhoods of Sao Paulo”, a documentary that portrays life in Sampa. Mr. Almeida said that more recently, TV Cultura has been interested in the phenomena of urban development and has tried to paint the lives of Brazilian people by entering their homes and neighbourhoods, in order to show traditions and customs.
According to Mr. Almeida, TV Cultura uses a bottom up approach in reference to external production, in order to better monitor and represent the changes that Brazil is undergoing. Instead, for the internal production, decisions are made within TV Cultura’s organizational structure.
by Kiki Sideris