The New Challenges TV Is Facing in 2020

This year, traditional broadcasters have had to redesign their content production, acquisition and scheduling strategies, in order to provide both entertainment and information during these unprecedented times. Up next, 10 renowned industry executives share their outlook on the industry’s current state.

Eric Jurgensen, president and CEO of Jurgensen Media Group and Adviser for América TV in Peru

“I think we’ve learned something very important. We’ve had to be very creative and move forward. I don’t think consumption habits will change that much. When this is over, I believe audiences’ consumption habits will stay the same. It will take some time to go back to producing fiction with touching and things like kissing. Because we have to take care of the actors and make them feel safe. Live shows have their protocols as well. The way we work is changing. There will be people who will come up with very interesting and innovative things to retain people’s attention.”

Adrián Ortega, EVP at Azteca 7 and EVP of Acquisitions at TV Azteca

”The pandemic we are going through forces us, as an industry, to think about and redesign production, acquisition and entertainment models into multiplatform ones. This experience may open doors that used to be closed, when the economic element will play a major role in the decision making process for acquiring and creating content. TV networks’ and producers’ creativity and vision must be focused on developing new paradigms that find a content-profitability balance, as well as questioning models that can’t be sustained in these challenging times.”

Alejandro Cattaneo, General Manager of Saeta Canal 10

”Our strategy has been the same for some time now and this situation hasn’t forced us to change it that much. We bet on live national content and big shows. That formula has worked well for a while. We are adding more advertising within each content. That’s the strategy we’ve had for some time now and it hasn’t changed. Products currently on air and the ones soon to premiere all fall in that line. In addition, we are moving some business lines aimed directly for our consumers, such as a lot of online games. And we are now delving into international production opportunities.”

Dago García, VP of Production at Caracol Televisión

”Luckily, we’ve been maintaining our leadership for eight years, which let’s us have a good balance. We have a programming structure in which we combine entertainment and fiction. Normally, we start our prime time after the newscast with entertainment. Whether it’s buying licenses for formats like The Voice or My Name Is..., but also our own talent shows like A otro nivel or adventure shows like Desafío. And humor formats such as Festival internacional del humor or La vuelta al mundo en 80 risas. Then, after 9:00 pm and until 11:00 pm, we have our fiction slot. First what we call “light product” at 9:00 pm and then something more adult-oriented at 10:00 pm. We are still betting hard on fiction.”

Cynthia Hudson, SVP and General Director of CNN en Español

“At this technological moment we have to be very flexible. To think and rethink how things are produced; how you can be more innovative with the tools that technologies allow us to have. The visual language of our environment has changed. What the public expects of us has also changed. The pandemic put many pending issues in their place. Who are the ones who will be able to function in a multiplatform world and speak directly to the consumer, because this creates a much more direct connection with our them”.

Eugenio Restano, Programming Manager at Teledoce

“This situation has made us have to rethink our international content acquisition policy. Today, the situation does not give us certainty that we can commit to long-term contracts in dollars. We are minimizing our purchases or, at least, being very cautious and specific when looking for products, mainly with formats. Broadcast TV has to look for other alternatives, other formats, other platforms with which to compete. Broadcast TV has to find its way through production”.

Karina Medina, Programming Manager at Ecuavisa

“We have had an interesting programming offer for the audience. The backbone of Ecuavisa is information. Our newscasts have had outstanding results. At this time when audiences seek information, newscasts have stood out with utter care while continuing to report. With all these elements -news, magazines and fiction- we are number one among households on a national level.”

José Augusto Miranda, Programming Director at Canal 13 in Chile

“Chile is a very competitive market because it is very small. We all seek the position of the leader. I believe that today if something changed in this crisis is that the discussion is not about who wins the ratings’ race, but rather how we can recover something that was essential: TV as the main means of communication that the world has. Now, on our secondary networks, we will offer an educational channel for children and among all the channels we create a unique grid. A grid that feeds off of all the contents from Canal 13, Mega, TVN, and has to do with entertaining and educating children. We are going back to basics in terms of the role played by pre-internet TV. It has been very challenging as a means of communication”.

Luis Guillermo Camacho, Manager, Strategy and Content at Latina Televisión

“Latina is the network with the most live national production. We made adjustments to some schedules, especially the evening news, to make it earlier and provide timely information. The current dramas continue and, luckily, we still have a good inventory of movies, series and telenovelas. We are well equipped for the moment. We always look for a lot of family movies and action, Turkish telenovelas and formats”.

Ignacio Mazza, Programming Manager at Canal 4

“One thing that is good to reflect on is that we spend our lives learning from the immediate past. If this or that program worked. Now the pandemic is making us look to a future that is very near and uncertain. That is the great challenge. On TV we fight for people’s leisure time and this year people had a lot more of it due to the quarantine. Many companies have realized that perhaps the home office is something that is not so bad. Then the number of people in their homes working can rise and we have to be there to seduce them. And it seems to me that live content is a good alternative”.