Telenovela and the new television

In the second chapter of this book, we investigated the narrative elements of the telenovela that resisted transformations throughout its approximately 70 years of existence and the main influences that it suffered throughout its trajectory. The vocation and the need to engage with society make the audience become the most exceptional transforming agent of these works. In the third chapter, we analyzed the construction of the teleno vela’s narrative. We pondered on the power chain of this production, which involves the author, team, station and their relationship with the public. From the audience’s point of view, in the fourth chapter, we discussed how new media and social networks amplify the repercussions of the telenovela and whether this phenomenon translates into an increase in the power of the public over the narrative today. Finally, in the fifth chapter, we addressed the consumption of the telenovela, its business model since its origin, supported by advertising, and how the audience relates to it. We also addressed the new possibilities of business models that arise with the arrival of new media, native companies of the digital age and the convergence of screens.

Brazil has a multiplatform audience that continues to massively watch telenovelas either because of the social bonds they provide, the historical and cultural origin of these works, the practice already rooted in society or by the adaptation of the telenovela to the viewer’s routine. However, the business model of television networks and the format of the teleno vela have not yet fully adapted to the contemporary convergence of screens and narratives in the context of the Brazilian reality.

The sliding of the narrative of the telenovela to other screens and media, following the new spectatorship, needs to maintain the business model supported by advertising and, at the same time, leverage a new commercial model supported by subscriptions, as analyzed in the previous chapter. However, to this day, Globoplay has not invested in traditional primetime telenovelas, though they have significant popularity in the catalogue. In March 2020, before quarantining in Brazil (due to the COVID pandemic), telenovelas were the third most-watched content on Globoplay, following the reality show Big Brother Brazil (BBB) and live streaming. These were the telenovelas that also aired in linear programming. Telenovelas from TV Globo’s collection were not as popular, even though some of them were still in the top 20 most-viewed content. During the pandemic, in May 2020, TV Globo had to rerun old telenovelas. Totalmente Demais/Total Dreamer, which I co-wrote with Paulo Halm, originally exhibited in 2015-2016, went back on the air with high ratings. Because of this, it became the fourth most watched content in Globoplay, following live streaming, the series The Good Doctor and assorted films. In October 2020, Totalmente Demais/ Total Dreamer, with its final chapters being broadcast, was the second-most watched content on Globoplay, followed by two other telenovelas that were also on the air. Therefore, it is possible to surmise that the popularity of a telenovela in linear programming directly influences the popularity of the same content on other media. Whether as catch-up viewing or because the telenovela on open television promotes the content online, the convergence of media attracts a multiplatform audience; they work well together.

In this chapter, we will examine empirical experiences that involve the main points already discussed in this book: format, narrative, transmedia narratives and sliding of the content of the telenovela to digital platforms; the relationship of the telenovela with the public and new forms of specta- torship and participation; and challenges and possibilities of new business models for the telenovela. Initially, we analyze the first experience of transmedia narrative content produced for a 9pm telenovela, the main product of Brazilian networks today; then an experiment with fanfic and the telenovela; next, a spin-off of a telenovela for the internet; and, finally, the sliding of a 9pm telenovela to the Globoplay digital platform.

 
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