It’s almost a consensus among analysts, journalists, and scholars that the 2018 presidential elections changed politics in Brazil. Jair Bolsonaro’s campaign relied heavily on social media and, until the second round of voting, he had very little time on TV. Channels are obligated to reserve free daily slots to candidates during the electoral period. The president-elect did not participate in almost any of the traditional TV debates and avoided being interviewed by news shows that were not aligned with him. Always a staple in Brazilian politics, television was seemingly dead after the 2018 race. Or was it?
A poll published by Kantar IBOPE Media shows that it is too soon to bury the so-called “idiot box”. In the metropolitan areas of the country, 93 percent of respondents said they watch TV regularly. More than that, Brazilian are spending more hours in front of their TV sets than in previous years. In the last decade, the average time spent watching TV rose from 8 hours and 18 minutes a day to 9 hours and 17 minutes. This is a growth of 12 percent. The result goes against common sense that people are turning away from the big screen at home to spend more time on the smaller ones (smartphones, tablets, and other devices).