A “digital transformation” in Latin America

By Jake Kreinberg

“Just like in the U.S., the digital transformation has brought everyone onto the same playing field – broadcasters need more text and photos than they did a handful of years ago, while newspapers need more video than ever before,” says our general manager of Latin American and Spanish media markets.

Editor’s note: I recently caught up with Brian Hopman, our general manager of Latin America and Spanish media markets, and asked him a few questions about the region and how we’re responding to any trends his team is seeing. His responses are also available in Spanish and Portuguese.


What trends are developing in the Latin American market?

A strong U.S. dollar, combined with economic weakness around the region, has made the environment more challenging for us and for our customers. However, with that said, our commitment to Latin America as a market remains firm and our outlook remains optimistic. The transition to digital has increased in pace while the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will hold the world’s attention in August.

Photo courtesy of Brian Hopman.

Production costs have also lowered, hopefully providing an incentive for those who haven’t gotten into video to take another look at it. We hope media companies continue to innovate and keep their audiences engaged, because those that do will more likely prosper in the long term. We hope they keep trying new things, even if they have to do that at the expense of something else they considered essential.

Where is the Latin American market in terms of digital adoption?

Use of digital devices and media continues to grow at an explosive pace. Just like in the U.S., the digital transformation has brought everyone onto the same playing field – broadcasters need more text and photos than they did a handful of years ago, while newspapers need more video than ever before. We’ve been able to assist both groups in this shift by offering multimedia content – found only on AP – relevant to their local audiences from our staff located around the world.

We also offer verified, viral content that we source from outside AP, such as user-generated content, to further broaden our content options and help our customers experiment to see what works best for them and their audiences.

You’ve also previously mentioned growth in pay TV in Latin America. Can you provide an update on how it’s doing?

We’re still seeing increasing numbers of pay-TV subscribers, which translates to additional revenue for many of our customers. It’s also led through the years to launches of new channels, such as 24-hour news networks, which we think is healthy for the marketplace. Each channel requires content to inform and entertain audiences, and we’ve worked to provide options that best apply to each genre and format.

Notably, we’ve increased our investment in live video by recently adding three content channels offering scheduled global and regional events in addition to breaking news. We know that media audiences expect to see coverage whether they’re watching TV or online, and we’ve received positive feedback from customers about these additions.

In this Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 photo, a child dressed as Fidel Castro rides in a caravan tribute marking the 57th anniversary of the original street party that greeted a triumphant Castro and his rebel army in Regla, Cuba. Castro and his rebels arrived in Havana via caravan on Jan. 8, 1959, after toppling dictator Fulgencio Batista. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

How has AP prepared for the upcoming Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro?

Our Global Media Services team has been working with NewSource Globo, part of Brazil’s leading media group, to secure access to broadcasting services, live stand-up positions and studio facilities in high-profile locations across Brazil, such as Copacabana beach. Having access to top-notch infrastructure and unique positions will be critical once everyone descends upon Rio in August.

In addition to live video resources, we’ve also signed an agreement with NewSource Globo to distribute videos from its collection through our archives. This will help media outlets not only in Latin America, but around the world, prepare stories and interviews before and during the games.

Having access to top-notch infrastructure and unique positions will be critical once everyone descends upon Rio in August.

Other than Rio, what are AP’s goals in the next 12 months?

We’re excited to be rolling out emerging, third-party platforms such as NewsWhip, SAM and Bambuser that we’ve joined with to go beyond content and toward other solutions that help folks in their newsrooms. So that’s something we’re really excited about in the first part of the year.

Another thing we’re prioritizing is the U.S. elections and the role AP plays in covering them. Our coverage includes some pretty cool stuff, including customizable maps and results feeds, which we’re increasingly localizing for the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking markets, and which can serve audiences in different ways.

We continue to look for ways of connecting the events from the U.S. to Latin America, because as compelling and entertaining as the race has been up to this point, the world is still following along.

In this Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016 photo, mourners carry the coffin of slain mayor of Temixco, Gisela Mota, to the cemetery in Pueblo Viejo, Mexico. Mota took office as mayor of the city of on Jan. 1 and was shot at her home on Jan. 2. The governor of the southern Mexican state of Morelos says the killing of the mayor was a warning by drug gangs, meant to convince other officials to reject state police control of local forces. (AP Photo/Tony Rivera)

Jake Kreinberg

Jake is the text and multimedia product manager at The Associated Press and the former editor of Insights. He previously covered college sports as a reporter for AP and helped design its multi-year strategic plan. Have feedback about the blog? Contact us at insights@ap.org.

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insights, text, images, video, multimedia