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Study shows new, surprising side of Catholic TV Stations in Latin America

2014-02-18

The Americas are home to more than half of the world's Catholics, about 500 million people. As the "lungs” of the Catholic Church, it's not surprising then, that half of all Catholic television stations are based in the region.

LEANDRO ANDRÉS LANZOTTI
Buena Nueva Communication
"We estimate there are some 200 Catholic television stations, and half of them are in the Americas, especially in the Spanish-speaking Americas.”

Argentine production house Buena Nueva Communication, along with Germany's Catholic Radio and Television Network, collaborated on a survey titled "Catholic Networks of Hispanic America.” 

It provides a snapshot of the current state of Catholic television, and includes data on employees, ratings, financing, programming, and training needs.

LEANDRO ANDRÉS LANZOTTI
Buena Nueva Communication
"The survey allows us to get to know them better. But, it also helps them get to know each other better. And it gives us greater authority when we talk about Catholic television in Latin America.”

According to the survey, networks have, on average, 50 employees, mostly between the ages of 26-45. Approximately two thirds of them were paid employees, while the rest work as volunteers.

Their most watched programs deal with "religious teachings and liturgical celebrations.” But the way they measure ratings varies widely, and is sometimes "subjective.” In the survey, only 17 percent reported carrying out some type of professional market research. 

In economic matters, broadcasters reported that, on average, 43 percent of revenue comes from advertising sales, production services, or airtime purchases. Only a quarter, comes from donations.

The survey also showed that, in terms of programming, roughly 53 percent was local content, giving "a greater local identity to the stations.” 

LEANDRO ANDRÉS LANZOTTI
Buena Nueva Communication
"The survey results might surprise some people. There's an assumption that Catholic stations from Latin America are weak, and of low quality. However, these networks are playing a great role in their societies.”

To get a clearer pictures, organizers sent the 53-question survey to the heads of 37 Catholic television networks, located in 15 countries. With one of the largest Spanish-speaking populations in the world, the survey also included networks in the United States.


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