The media advertising market was worth USD$725 million in 2016, and shows steady growth, despite a minor blip during the economic slowdown of 2015, when there was a 4.7% in advertising spending. With 105 television broadcasters licensed across Peru (22 in Lima), broadcasting 1043 channels, this medium enjoys the lion’s share of the market, with an investment of USD$386 million in 2016. Meanwhile, radio and print advertising were worth USD$83 million and USD$81 million respectively.
As any PR agency in Peru will be more all too aware, the mass media enjoys massive influence over public opinion in Peru, as well as the setting of the political agenda of the state, enjoying a reach never seen before. While the local law prohibits the formation of media monopolies, limiting the number of radio and TV licenses that one operator can own, it does not extend to print media, nor does it prohibit cross-ownership, opening a loophole for discretionary licensing decisions.
Radio demands the highest audience share in Peru, reaching even the most isolated parts of the mountainous country, and is often the first source of news for many Peruvians who live in rural settings. Radio Programas del Peru, a national network, is radio’s most influential news provider, with transmitter and correspondents in most Peruvian cities.
Television is popular too and is watched in 87% of homes across the country, and in 99% of homes in capital Lima. While penetration was traditionally very poor in rural parts, this has improved considerably in the last decade, and 93% of homes now have at least one television. Average daily consumption is around 3-and-a-half hours per day.
Sales of smart TVs tripled between 2014 and 2016, with market share growing from 13.3% to 36.9%. Peruvians are increasingly investing in subscription TV too, as the economy continues to flourish, and consumers have more income. There were 4.1 million pay TV customers in 2016, one million more than there were one year previously.
The television industry became mired in controversy in 2000, once it emerged that journalistic coverage had been slanted to push for the reelection of Alberto Fujimori, in exchange for legal favours, and fat bribes paid by the presidential advisor. Several media magnates were imprisoned in the fallout of this scandal, and advertising revenue took a serious bashing. With many in jail, or on the run, new media consortia were formed, and revenues recovered alongside the booming economy.
There are 24 newspapers published from the capital city Lima alone. The biggest of these, El Comercio (founded in 1839, this dominant group owns 60% of the media market, and now owns nine newspapers at local and national level, along with 13 digital media outlets), and shares the most-read top-spot with El Diario. The biggest papers include Gestión, an economy focused newspaper (owned by the El Comercio group; prestigious broadsheets Peru 21 (also owned by El Comercio); Diario La Republica; and El Peruano, the official state newspaper, founded in 1825, which publishes all legislation, along with general news reporting. All of these also incorporate foreign news coverage, pointing to connectivity between Peru’s educated class and what is going on in the wider global context and, as in other markets, one of the responsibilities of PR agencies in Peru is to adapt and localize international themes and content, making it relevant to a local audience.
Tabloid offerings that include Expreso; Correo; La Razón; La Primeira; & Exito offer local and international news presented in a simpler and often sensationalistic style. Other tabloid style popular papers largely deal with local sports news and local celebrity gossip.
Most of these newspapers have online digital versions, and a strong social media presence, with content and breaking news stories shared on Facebook and Twitter, as well as offering content via the medium of blogs. The surging online demand for content has changed the structure of traditional newsrooms, and Peruvian journalists may be better described as multi-media professionals, as online penetration has become such a central part of their job description.