Television in Venezuela

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Television in Venezuela began in 1952 when the dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez launched the state channel Televisora Nacional, making Venezuela the ninth country in the world to have television. By 1963 a quarter of Venezuelan households had television; a figure rising to 45% by 1969 and 85% by 1982.[1] Telenovelas are popular in Venezuela, and some Venezuelan productions (such as 1992's Cara Sucia) are distributed internationally. Perhaps the best known television show internationally is however President Hugo Chávez' weekly talk show Aló Presidente, which began in 1999 and ended in 2012. The government also makes regular use of cadenas (mandatory interruptions on all channels to show government broadcasts).

Channels and channel owners[edit]

Televisa was the second television network to begin operations in Venezuela after Televisora Nacional, and the first commercial network before Radio Caracas Television both in 1953. Ondas del Lago Televisión was the first Venezuelan regional television network based in Maracaibo, Zulia State. Created in 1957 lasted only a few months before ceasing operations. Actually the main private television networks are Venevisión, Televen and Globovisión. Public-owned television includes Venezolana de Televisión, TVes, ViVe and teleSUR. There are also local community-run television stations such as Catia TVe and a range of regional networks such as Zuliana de Televisión. The Venezuelan government also provides funding to Avila TV, Buena TV and Asamblea Nacional Televisión.

In recent years, the audience share of private terrestrial broadcasters has fallen from around 80% in 2000 to around 60% in 2010, with the bulk of the lost audience going to cable and satellite broadcasters, which increased audience share from around 17% to around 33% over the same period. State television's share increased from around 2% to 5%, not including the "cadenas."[2]

Since 1980 Venezuela uses the North American analog color broadcast system NTSC and since 2009 the Japanese system with the Brazilian improvement ISDB-T.

In Venezuela the use of CATV or Satellite TV is very common and the prices are low. Inter is the leader with 430,000 subscribers (39%), followed by 400,000 DirecTV subscribers (36.5%), Net-Uno 110,000 subscribers (10%) and SuperCable 105,000 subscribers (9.5%).


Telenovelas are popular in Venezuela, and some Venezuelan productions (such as 1992's Cara Sucia) are distributed internationally. Perhaps the best known television show internationally was however President Hugo Chávez' weekly talk show Aló Presidente, which began in 1999 and ran with occasional breaks until 2012.


The government of former President Hugo Chavez repeatedly issued sanctions against television and radio stations for violating the rules. In 2002, various reports stated that the former president Hugo Chavez was moving forcefully to restrain media criticism by closing several radio stations, tightening controls on one TV station and maneuvering to take control of another. Chavez said, "Don't be surprised if we start shutting down television stations," at the end of January because "No information on Chávez, his followers, his ministers, and all others that could in any way be related to him" should not be shown on TV if it shows "disrespect" to his government.[3]

2007 RCTV broadcast license non-renewal[edit]

Main article: 2007 RCTV protests

Radio Caracas Televisión RCTV started broadcasting on November 15, 1953. It was the third television network to operate in Venezuela and had an important role in Venezuelan popular culture. Since the networks creation, soap operas played an important part of RCTV's programming and was part of Venezuelan culture. The programming of RCTV interpreted, reflected and described the customs of contemporary Venezuela which was evidenced by the high ratings of the network.[4]

RCTV, however, was highly critical of the Chávez government, though it was critical of many governments in the past as well, and often had allied with the opposition movement against the Bolivarian government.[5] After threats and attacks on the station by the Venezuelan government, Hugo Chavez on May 27, 2007, shut down the station by not renewing RCTV's broadcast license which resulted in protests in Venezuela. RCTV began broadcasting via cable and satellite service providers in July 2007, as RCTV Internacional. On January 23, 2010, RCTV International did not deliver a speech by President Chávez and that same day the government asked companies, public cable and satellite operators to take RCTV International off the air. Chavez said, he would not tolerate media “at the service of coup-plotting, against the people, against the nation, against the national independence and against the dignity of the Republic.”[6]


  1. ^ Swanson, David and Mancini, Paolo (1996), Politics, media, and modern democracy: an international study of innovations in electoral campaigning and their consequences, Greenwood Publishing, p240
  2. ^ Mark Weisbrot and Tara Ruttenberg, 14 December 2010, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Television in Venezuela: Who Dominates the Media?
  3. ^ Klein, Naomi (2003). "Venezuela's Media Coup". Nation. 276 (8): 10. 
  4. ^ Rory, Carroll. "Chávez silences critical TV station - and robs the people of their soaps". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ "The Americas: Broadcast battles; Venezuela". The Economist. 298. Jul 21, 2007. 
  6. ^ Navasky, Victor (2007). "Mission to Caracas". Nation. 284 (8): 6, 23. 

See also[edit]