Information production and dissemination rest in the hands of few in Colombia – there are eight entities that control all national coverage. These economic conglomerates have interests in food & beverage, banking, public services & infrastructure, and housing, among others. However, along with outlets owned by these traditional groups, there increasing numbers of alternative channels emerging which can be harnessed by strategic Colombian PR agencies.
TV remains is the main news source for Colombians. Most of the broadcast media in Colombia is controlled by wealthy family or large multi-national corporations.
There are two privately owned and three state-run national TV stations in Colombia, with a lot of regional TV networks and channels. The main TV private national networks are Canal RCN, and Caracol, both of whom also have national radio coverage. Canal Uno is the main state-owned broadcaster, which transmits privately sourced programming, while Senal Colombia transmits the government’s education and cultural messaging and Sepal Institucional is used for government broadcasts, live congress feeds, etc.
Radio and News
Radiodifusora Nacional de Colombia is the national state-run radio station, while the main private radio stations with national coverage include Caracol; RCN (both with vast affiliate networks); Cadena Super; Colmundo; & Todelar.
Print media is privately owned, and there are around 30 large daily newspapers in Colombia, with three of the main dailies emanating from capital Bogotá.
A large selection of business papers also circulate, as well as industrial and trade magazines, which enjoy a strong online presence alongside their print runs.
While effective national PR campaigns can target national papers, the power of the local paper should not be discarded by Colombian PR agencies or foreign investors to the market, as a means of ensuring maximum market penetration.
Each of the large cities has its own periodical. For example, in Medellin, the locals read El Colombiano, while in Barranquilla the people get their news from El Heraldo. In Cali, El País is the go-to journal, while in Cartagena people tend to read El Universal. Regional nuances exist between the different cities. A well-placed PR agency will know how to direct concise messaging to distinct populations. Some of the larger magazines include Cromos, Dinero, Latinpyme, Semana. Your public relations agency in Colombia will be able to analyse your desired audience and map where and how to reach them.
While traditional marketing and advertising practices (TV, radio, print media, coupons) are still seen to be the most effective in Colombia, newer channels are gaining traction, especially in the more densely populated urban areas.
As in nearby consumer markets, there is a growing trend to use seasonal occasions to push new product lines. Amor y Amistad, for example, is the Colombian equivalent to Valentine’s Day, celebrated in September, and serves as an annual launch for promotions and product inaugurations. Retail outlets open for extended hours around holidays to ensure maximum opportunity for trade.