NEWS IS HERE
– With the prestige and strength of the largest news channel in the world, CNN lands in the country with tons of equipment, thousands of square meters of studios and hundreds of professionals
– Advertisers and agencies are buzzing about a new communication channel with consumers, backed up by reliability gained in 40 years of journalism
– The company has announced the creation of an Editorial Board to strengthen its commitment to independence. Together with Brazilian journalists, the striking presence of the American company adds expertise to the business
– The project presents to the public and media market a channel with heavyweight signings, innovation and no anything-goes-attitude in the fight for audience attention. The goal is to consolidate the brand and offer a new option in journalism
– The on-air premiere will be in March during an event at the Oca Pavilion in Ibirapuera Park in São Paulo, one of the most important cultural buildings in Brazil
Propaganda magazine presents special edition, which we have reproduced this link, with backstage news about CNN Brasil’s launch and its project to consolidate in Brazil the journalism brand already present in more than 200 countries. Our team talked with the leadership of the company and had access to exclusive details about the establishment of the country’s newest news channel.
THE NEWS FACTORY
CNN’s headquarters occupies 4,000 m2 on Paulista Avenue, bringing together a team of 160 journalists and a total of more than 450 employees
The numbers are impressive. Three national head offices – in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasília –, in addition to correspondents in the main capitals of the country and abroad. The main headquarters, in a large and modern building on Paulista Avenue – one of the main postcards of the city of São Paulo –, is set up in an area of 4,000 m², with 800 m² destined to the studios for recording various news programs and shows.
In the past, the chosen building housed the former headquarters of Banco Real. With one of the accesses to the Trianon subway station just at its entrance, the building is located a few steps away from the São Paulo Museum of Art, MASP, and it stands tall in the heart of the largest city in Latin America. But there is more.
CNN Brasil’s headquarters brings an innovation among Brazilian broadcasters: pedestrians from Paulista will be able to follow the program on a screen and view the live operation of its studios – as it happens in Times Square, in New York, and other major busy points in the United States. Thus, tourists and residents of São Paulo now have an unprecedented attraction in the country.
Nine metric tons of new equipment, dozens of armored glass. For journalism production, there are 130 individual stations, combined with 25 content post-production stations and 800 screens spread over the channel’s Production and Operation area. Switchers and software were tailored for CNN Brasil in different countries for multimedia integration and faster information processing.
In fact, the studio-office at CNN’s headquarters is one of the most modern among national broadcasters, following the established model of CNN US. The same standards will also be adopted in the visual language of the channel, with news tickers, jingles, and layouts designed by professionals in partnership with peers of CNN International.
Moreover, a team of 160 journalists will be in charge of the programs behind the camera and on the streets all over Brazil. Altogether, CNN Brasil built a team with more than 450 employees distributed over the three national head offices that will bring forth to the programming of the largest news broadcast brand in the world.
THE ENTERPRISING JOURNALIST
How the Partner and CEO of CNN Brasil conceived setting up the world’s most well-known news brand in Brazil. He reveals the secrets of the business
Many people wonder how the largest news channel in the world – present in 212 countries and territories – had never brought an operation of its own to the largest country in Latin America in almost four decades of existence. To date, more than 210 million Brazilians have only been able to watch CNN in English or Spanish. But that will change from March 2020. The person responsible for bringing the brand to Brazil – with a project produced by Brazilians for Brazilians, after years of unsuccessful attempts – could not help but be passionate about news – and entrepreneurship too.
Journalist Douglas Tavolaro earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the traditional Faculdade Cásper Líbero, in São Paulo, and pursued a career in newsrooms of various print media and TV channels. “Journalism clarifies and brings up better citizens. It’s an increasing pillar of developed societies,” says Tavolaro, who grew up in a middle-class family and spent most of his student years in public schools.
The executive’s professional destiny led him to create and implement the TV Record journalism project for 17 years until he left the group in January last year. Tavolaro resigned from the company as Vice President of News, after elevating a department of minor relevance to the second biggest force in television news and reaching the largest audience rates and revenues of the group. Under his steer, Record won its greatest awards in 65 years of history. With a sense of accomplishment, he left the company to pursue his dream of building his own business.
For more than 15 years as a television executive, Tavolaro has had close editorial and business relationships with CNN’s American counterparts. This relationship of trust led CNN International Commercial to invite him to set up the project in Brazil, becoming a shareholding shareholder in the company and occupying the position of “Founder” (Founding CEO). Tavolaro negotiated with foreign executives the participation of a national investor to proceed with the project.
The negotiations in Atlanta, London, and New York City, CNN’s world headquarters, were conducted by Tavolaro during months in which he worked out, together with his team, the editorial project, and the business plan that brought the new company to life. After that, he invited construction industry and digital finance businessman Rubens Menin – with whom he claims to have “relationships of deep friendship and admiration” – to enter the business as his partner. The Brazilian law requires that news companies be majority-owned by Brazilians.
In the last 12 months, Tavolaro conducted the hiring of video stars, the company’s leadership, and journalism executives; planned the marketing strategy; implemented investments in programming, distribution and multiplatform; signed international partnerships; and structured the management and commercial areas of the new company. Now, the executive’s routine is one hundred percent taken by the final preparations for the premiere of the channel that has been stirring up the Brazilian media market.
Propaganda magazine talked to Tavolaro at the headquarters of the new broadcaster, on Paulista Avenue. The interview could not have taken place elsewhere but in the newsroom.
How did the CNN dream start for you?
CNN is a brand present in the training of any journalist in the world, admired and recognized as a top reference in the concept of news production. No one becomes a professional in our field without studying CNN’s trajectory as the first 24-hour journalism channel. I grew up with this view of CNN, like any other journalist. That aspiration was added to another one that I learned from my family, which is to seek entrepreneurship. My Italian grandfather, who is now 96 years old and was a prisoner in World War II, arrived in Brazil fleeing that difficult period in Europe and undertook enterprises. My parents also ran a small business in São Paulo. Those were simple examples, but very significant for me.
Does that seem to have been remarkable in your life?
Yes, a lot. This entrepreneurial vision has always been present at home. Even with small businesses, I learned from my family the importance of creating something important for people’s lives. The main goal of our project is to be relevant to Brazil and the Brazilians and to help improve our country with information. CNN was born here with this greater goal.
When you agreed to buy this idea, you were having a great and promising time in your career. What made you have the courage to take this turn and face a new challenge?
How could a journalist not embrace the project of implementing the world’s largest brand of journalism in the world in Brazil? It’s impossible! I am grateful to Record for everything I lived there and for the friendships that I will always take with me. The greatest honor now is to be part of a channel that wants to be important in the lives of Brazilians. To make journalism with accuracy and quality to better inform the population.
Brazil is experiencing a moment of strong political polarization. Will CNN Brasil position itself in this scenario?
This line of questioning is normal in Brazil today. The past few years have brought very opposite ideological sides. As I have repeated, we will be neither on the right nor on the left side. Our business is professional journalism – impartial, transparent and rigorous. The interest that moves us is that of society. We will work to broadcast information after completing a technical verification and checking process. We will have a plurality of opinions, with our analysts always looking for exemption and balance. Besides, an Editorial Board, which will be completely independent of the Board of Directors, was created to reinforce the credibility and impartiality of our journalism.
A BRAND MAKING HISTORY
Created in a visionary manner by American businessman Ted Turner, CNN is currently part of WarnerMedia, one of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world, and will turn 40 in June
To fully understand the size of the CNN brand in the world, you must take a step back in time, and land in a period of history when being connected all the time, every day, was only part of delusional dreams and futuristic cartoons. The year is 1980, and Robert Edward “Ted” Turner, then a 41-year-old American businessman, has just launched the largest news channel in the world.
The proposal was visionary: a TV channel that broadcast news programming 24 hours a day. At that time, not only was it an immense step towards an upcoming media but also a bold one. After all, would there be an audience to follow journalistic content at any time?
Yes, there was such an audience. Moreover, it was precisely the fact that many people missed the news when they got home after 6:30 PM that got into Ted Turner’s mind to create CNN. The success was immediate and only increased over time. As an example, in 2010, at the turn of the last decade, more than 100 million American homes had access to CNN.
Today, CNN has spread across the planet. Its global headquarters are in Atlanta and New York City. Furthermore, as part of a gigantic news industry with newsrooms on all continents – including licensed companies, such as CNN Brasil –, the company produces content that covers more than 212 countries and territories. In the United States, it has consolidated itself as an absolute reference of prestige and quality of information under the leadership of Jeff Zucker, CEO of the company.
CNN is part of WarnerMedia, which received this name in 2018 when Time Warner was purchased by AT&T, the largest telecommunications company in the world. It took two years of negotiation before the merger was concluded, giving rise to what is today the largest media and entertainment group in the world in terms of revenue. Among its main companies are media giants like HBO, Warner Bros., DC Comics, Cartoon Network, and TNT.
With the consolidation of WarnerMedia, CNN once again highlights its visionary characteristic. In the market’s opinion, the $ 85 billion business has enabled the conglomerate to compete with internet companies like Netflix and Google.
THE SUPPORTER OF JOURNALISM
The career trajectory of Rubens Menin, founder of three companies valued at 23 billion BRL on the Brazilian Stock Exchange, and partner-investor in the project that renewed the breath of the Brazilian press
Flamengo’s last victory of the CONMEBOL Libertadores in November – marked by the moment when soccer star Gabigol raised the trophy – was remarkable not only for players and fans. Printed on the back of the shirt of the best Brazilian and South American team, the MRV brand also won a symbolic trophy at that moment: that for being one of the companies that most support the sport in the country.
The champion behind this achievement is mining engineer Rubens Menin, Founder and CEO of MRV, the construction company that also sponsors teams like São Paulo and Atlético Mineiro – of which he is a die-hard fan –, among others. Since 1979, the company is responsible for the construction and incorporation of low-cost dwellings developments throughout Brazil.
Now, Menin is launching himself towards another challenge – this time in a new market. He is a partner-investor at CNN Brasil and Chairman of the new company’s Board of Directors. According to Menin, the initiative “aims to contribute to the democratization of information and the construction of a plural press.”
In all his businesses, Menin collects success stories. In its 40-year-history, MRV has already launched more than 400,000 properties, becoming the largest construction company in the sector in Latin America. Currently, it is the only company in its industry present in more than 160 Brazilian municipalities, generating 6,000 jobs per year. More than 120,000 keys to new houses were delivered in the last three years. 2019 registered the highest operating profit in the company’s history, and, according to preliminary data, net sales totaled 5.4 billion BRL. In its 12 years as a company listed on the Brazilian Stock Exchange, MRV has seem its equity value grow fivefold.
Notably, Rubens Menin has other records. He is the only Brazilian businessman to have three companies listed on the Stock Exchange, all founded by him: in addition to MRV, there are also Banco Inter and Log Commercial Properties. More than 200,000 Brazilians own shares in these three companies which, together, have a market value exceeding more than 23 billion BRL.
Log operates in the construction, marketing, and management of logistic condominiums. After a stock offering in October 2019, the company is worth almost 2 billion reais. Meanwhile, Banco Inter – reinvented as a digital bank by the Menin family – is already worth almost 14 billion BRL and attracted Softbank as a shareholder.
Founded in 1994, Banco Inter is one of the fastest companies in the group in terms of growth. One of the first digital banks in Brazil, with digital operations since 2015, the company has no physical branches. With a portfolio of 4,1 million customers in 2019, the bank also does not charge credit card annual fees or extra fees to its current checking account holders. Indeed, it offers investment options and online financial transactions. In Brazilian soccer fields, the brand is the master sponsor of the São Paulo team.
Rubens Menin’s last two moves happened at the end of 2019. The first one was to obtain the approval from the municipal authorities of Belo Horizonte for the construction of the MRV Arena, a new stadium for his beloved team, Atlético-MG. Menin donated the 130,000 square meter land and MRV will pay for part of the construction as naming rights. The stadium is expected to be completed in 30 months and will have a capacity of 46,000 people.
The second move was the approval of a large financial contribution from MRV to AHS Residential, a developer founded by Menin in the United States. The company buys land, develops projects, builds, and leases medium-cost properties. Today, it owns already more than 2,000 under construction or ready-to-move-in apartments in South Florida, and it is expanding at high speed.
FIGHTING FAKE NEWS
Independent Editorial Board and the “triad” concept, created by the American broadcaster, reinforce the autonomy of the CNN project in Brazil
The arrival of CNN in the country was not treated coldly by the Brazilian press. Quite the contrary. With stories that narrated step by step the construction of the new channel, newspapers, websites, and magazines portrayed throughout last year all the turmoil the channel caused to the market even before making its air premiere.
After some names were confirmed and the TV programming announced, the editorial project remained a curiosity to the public. A recent press release helped to clarify what will guide the content of the new vehicle: the creation of an Editorial Board independent from the company’s administrative management.
Accordingly, the group will consist of Brazilian journalists from CNN Brasil, consultants from CNN International, and a lawyer who will assist with legal matters about news making. They will meet weekly for strategic editorial decisions of the newsroom. CNN International’s standards and practices are based on credibility, depth, and extreme rigor in checking.
“We will follow them all,” says Leandro Cipoloni, Vice President of Journalism. With 23 years of experience in newspapers and TV broadcasters, and achievements such as the Esso Award (the most important award of Brazilian journalism), Cipoloni ensures that the search for excellence journalism practiced by CNN will be an obsession. “We are here to make good journalism: balanced, independent, impartial.”
CNN Brasil bases its editorial project – designed in detail by local executives after immersion in the American headquarters and meetings with founder Ted Turner and Global CEO Jeff Zucker – on informing the world impartially and intelligently.
From the US, they imported the triad, a concept composed of the pillars “the row,” “the legal,” and “standard and practices.” The first pillar, “the row,” is composed of Executive Editors from CNN Brasil. The second one has lawyers who analyze the legal implications of each material to be broadcasted. Finally, the third pillar, of standards and practices, consists of directors who verify that the content of the report follows the CNN standards manual.
“This pillar of the triad has the function of confronting sensitive themes with three key questions, whose initials in Portuguese refer to the channel’s acronym: ‘How do we do it?’ (editorial); ‘Can we do it?’ (legal); and ‘Should we do it?’ (manual),” says Cipoloni. In the wake of importing the concept, an unprecedented fact arose: in Brazil, for the first time, CNN will have the triad built in the center of the newsroom in a scenographic way. All paths of the newsroom converge toward the triangular table.
“CNN’s rigor in checking will be strictly followed and will make a difference for the Brazilian public, in times of proliferation of fake news,” says Cipoloni. According to Cipoloni, CNN Brasil’s editorial project will never disclose facts at first hand without previous and extensive checking work.
For him, the idea is to get to the news first; the right time to publish it, however, will be only after being absolutely sure that it has been confirmed in all its aspects. In the new broadcaster, the fight against fake news has the same weight as that of a scoop.
CNN BRASÍLIA HONORS NIEMEYER LINES
Office in the Federal District is located a few meters from the Esplanada dos Ministérios, the National Congress, and the Planalto Palace
In the year that Brasilia celebrates its 60th anniversary, the city designed by Oscar Niemeyer gets a new journalistic vehicle, which honors its creation in the whole concept of its project. The CNN Brasil’s office in the federal capital frames its programming in a studio inspired by the lines of the great architect.
“Brasília represents an important part of the CNN Brasil project. We will be very present in the daily programming. We have a unique team working in front and behind the cameras, and an office strategically established in the center of power, with easy access to the most important sources,” says André Ramos, General Director of the broadcast in Brasilia.
Ramos worked for broadcasters such as EPTV, an affiliate of Globo in the interior of São Paulo, and SBT. At Record, Ramos served as Editor-in-Chief of news programs until he was promoted, in 2011, to Journalism Manager in Brasília, where he headed election coverage and presidential inaugurations.
“We are going to inform with quality and plurality. We will show the journalism that we can do, and that the viewer deserves to consume.”
STRAIGHT FROM RIO’S POSTCARD
The office where the CNN headquarters will be located overlooks the Pão de Açúcar and Guanabara Bay
The window looks out on Sugarloaf Mountain and the entire contour of Guanabara Bay. It could be a poem by Tom Jobim but, in fact, is the daily life of CNN Rio de Janeiro studios, where the glass frame will take advantage of the most beautiful view of the city while broadcasting.
“The Rio de Janeiro office will be strategically important in the CNN Brasil project. In addition to being a postcard of the country, the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro has political sectors and actors, economic and research sectors that will generate important sources and content for the life of Brazilians,” says Givanildo Menezes, Director of the Rio’s office.
Before receiving the invitation from the new channel, Menezes coordinated coverage of major international events such as Rio+ 20 and led political debates and election coverage in the journalism departments of open broadcasters such as TV Record, where he worked for four years. The goal, according to the executive, is for CNN Rio to spread throughout the national programming grid, with anchors and commentators in the studio in addition to reporters scattered throughout the city.
ADVERTISES AS CO-CREATORS
CNN Brasil’s Commercial Vice President tells all about the project that places companies, brands, and services as protagonists
“There is a 115% positive response”. Going beyond mathematics and all expectations, Marcus Vinicius Chisco uses this figure to define the way the market has been reacting to the arrival of CNN Brasil. For the Commercial Vice President, there is a pro-CNN Brasil movement, headed by the excitement brought by the new player.
“We have been warmly welcomed,” says the executive, responsible for the channel’s negotiations with the advertising market and advertisers. With an experience of almost 30 years, Chisco was announced as part of the project in April 2019, after 20 years at TV Record, where, since 2015, he held the position of Director of Sales and Business Development.
For Chisco – an adman with a background at MTV and Globosat – companies that decide to link their brand with CNN Brasil will be curated by the largest journalism brand in the world, enjoying features such as truth and depth in content.
“First and foremost, at CNN Brasil we are working in a such way that the brand, the company, and the agency have been co-creators of the project since its birth. More than offering the portfolio on linear TV, advertisers are receiving proposals and, together with our team, designing projects in which they are also creators of vertical platforms in areas such as economics, health, and agribusiness, among others.”
Chisco explains that the entire CNN commercial project was already born as multiplatform. In partnership with the content and journalism teams, his team developed ways for the channel to dialogue directly and clearly with the target audiences of its advertisers. “More than selling an ad or a sponsorship, we are looking to see what is the need for impact, and which clusters the customer wants to reach.”
As part of the immersion required to set up a commercial project of this size, the VP traveled several times to CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, New York City, and London. For him, the exchange with the Americans was essential to point out which paths to follow to achieve the same success. “By adopting the same principles, our goal is to achieve the same results as they do,” he says. “We are confident.”
THE MARKET VIEW
Renowned Brazilian communication professionals comment on CNN’s arrival in the country
“A strong and independent press is essential for democracy and citizenship. And it is even more necessary in times like today, when we need serious, productive, and plural debates. Therefore, the arrival of a voice like CNN Brasil should be celebrated. Brazil wins since people and brands have one more option of quality, which has historically built a mature view of information and journalism.” Renata d’Ávila, Chief Strategic Officer (CSO) of FCB Brasil
“At a time when so many excellent journalists are losing their jobs, we should all welcome the arrival of CNN Brasil! A brand of global excellence generating jobs in Brazil. Long live CNN Brasil!” Raul Doria, Managing Partner, Executive Producer of CINE
“A new press vehicle emerging is always something to be celebrated. A strong, free, serious, and credible press is a fundamental pillar for the democratic system and, therefore, for the population. May this one be the way to go by CNN in the country.” Luiz Fernando Musa, CEO of the Ogilvy Group Brazil
“At a time when everything is news, and the reliability of information is on the agenda, I believe the official arrival of CNN Brasil consolidates the importance of increasingly strengthening the credibility and quality of our journalism. The market will certainly gain a lot, as CNN Brasil will bring opinion and proactive journalism, fueling the dynamics of the current market. It’s the arrival of another important player, and we need to keep an eye on it.” Vicente Varela, VP of Data and Media Strategy at Lew’Lara / TBWA
“The arrival of a player like CNN in Brazil is very important for our industry as it heats up our market, giving us the chance to create new projects and activations with advertisers. We cannot forget this is one of the most respected brands in the world when it comes to quality journalism, which brings benefits not just for the area of communication, but for society as a whole.” David Laloum, CEO of Y&R
“CNN’s arrival in Brazil, is obviously seen with very good eyes and much expected by the advertising market. Besides, it’s great news for Brazilian journalism, corroded in recent times by reduction or closures. All of this creates a huge scenario of expectation. CNN was created to change the concept of journalism in the world, and here it will certainly be no different. Times have changed, but there is still a lot of room for innovation, especially when talking about extremely relevant content and information quality in news.” Francisco Rosa, General Director of Media and Business at Artplan SP
“I see CNN Brasil as an opportunity that combines the credibility and independence of an international newsgroup with the distribution of its content on multiplatforms, fostering high-level dialogues with highly qualified audiences. I am sure this will positively shake up the advertising market that is currently seeking partners with those characteristics.” Adeildo Souza, Channel Strategy Director at Havas Health & You
“We are going through a change in the way we consume television, in which live content – such as journalism and sports broadcasts – is highlighted, to the detriment of content such as movies and series, which are migrating to on-demand systems. CNN Brasil’s arrival is connected to this phenomenon of valuing ‘live’ television broadcasts, also counting on the interaction with viewers through news portals and social media.” Fábio Urbanas, Head of Media at AlmapBBDO
“In the era of fake news, having a vehicle with CNN’s credibility is a huge benefit for Brazilian communication. Besides, it will be great to have a new player to further heat up our market.” Kevin Zung, COO of WMcCann
“CNN Brasil’s arrival brings even more plurality to the Brazilian communication and content scenario. We are increasingly connected, collaborative and digital, and the dynamic essence of CNN is all about this.” Gabriel Bernardi, Director of Media, Data and CRM at Jüssi
“CNN is one of the largest news channels in the world, and its arrival in Brazil is excellent in every way. The possibility of having access to different points of view on daily events, through serious, impartial, and globally reliable journalism is what we continuously need. I’m sure it will be a milestone, and we will all benefit from this movement.” Erh Ray, Partner and CEO of BETC / Havas
“The arrival of CNN Brasil is great and long-awaited news, and will certainly contribute to strengthening the quality of independent journalism in Brazil. Having the largest and most respected news company in the world in the country, producing content directed to the interests of the Brazilian public with the same seriousness and standards of journalism production as in their headquarters in Atlanta is a privilege and reinforces the relevance of our market. Moreover, they will bring their entire globalized distribution experience of multiplatform content. With names like Douglas Tavolaro and Américo Martins at the forefront of content creation and a team formed by Evaristo Costa, William Waack, young talents like Phelipe Siani and Mari Palma, among others, CNN Brasil has everything to be a success. And the advertising market also wins, because we will have the main brand of journalism in the world at the service of other major brands.” Rodrigo Famelli, VP of Media of Africa
“Having the presence of one of the largest television channels in the world here in Brazil is really exceptional. CNN is a world reference in television news, and ABA is honored to be able to have this great company as a partner. We hope that in 2020 we can go even further together to contribute to the growth of our ecosystem.” Sandra Martinelli, President of ABA (Brazilian Association of Advertisers)
“[When it comes to] Qualified journalism segment, we are hostage to a few options in Brazil. The arrival of CNN Brasil expands our possibilities, with a strong journalism team, which brings brands closer to a select audience. We are looking forward to the premiere.” Márcia Mendonça, Head of Media of DAVID
“We are living in a time of polarization, and Brazilians increasingly question the veracity and impartiality of many news items, even when reported by extremely serious and competent vehicles and journalists that we have in Brazil. But when we talk about CNN, we talk about a brand linked to trust and relevance. So I believe that CNN Brasil and its professionals may have a very important role in changing this scenario and helping to win Brazilians’ hearts back . It’s a transformation that can only benefit the entire sector.” Eduardo Simon, CEO of DPZ&T.