Urban Brazil

Pop 193m
Internet 46%
Smartphone 58%
Tablet 40%
Interest in news 87%
(1st= out of 10)

South America’s biggest media market is home to thousands of radio stations and hundreds of TV channels. Media ownership is highly concentrated. Domestic conglomerates such as Globo, Brazil’s most-successful broadcaster, dominate the market and run TV and radio networks, newspapers, and successful online operations. Brazilians are among the world’s top users of blogs and social networks and use of online is growing fast, attracting foreign outlets as BuzzFeed, the Spanish newspaper El País and the Huffington Post, which launched their Portuguese versions between 2012 and 2013.1



Digital developments

TV is by far the most popular medium in Brazil, despite declining viewing figures with the growth of cable TV and internet viewing. Leading provider Globo reached 70% of the audience in the 1980s, but now this figure is nearer 50%. Print circulation is slightly up over the last five years, reflecting the rise of new low-cost newspapers, some of them in ‘British tabloid style’, but as elsewhere digital disruption is beginning to bite.

On the internet, there is fierce competition between Google and traditional providers of information. In 2011, most popular newspapers in Brazil decided to withdraw their content from Google News, after the giant internet company refused to pay for content. The three big national newspapers – Folha de S. Paulo, O Globo, and O Estado de S. Paulo – have invested in various strategies for paid content. The most successful case so far is Folha, which has operated a paywall since 2012 – 35% of its subscriptions are now digital.

Both O Globo and the O Estado de S. Paulo recently created new products designed for tablets and mobiles (a digital ‘evening edition’).

Social networks and digital participation

After the early success (and rapid decline) of Google’s social network Orkut, Brazilians have transferred their allegiance to Facebook, which now has around 80 million users. YouTube also performs strongly. One hypothesis about Brazil’s love of social networks relates to the early adoption of online interaction tools – such as a chat system developed by internet provider UOL in the 1990s.


Top social networks*

* Use weekly for news

  1. Our survey only took in the urban areas of Brazil and results must be viewed in this light.