According to sources close to the Government, the recent open debate on cultural sponsorship and funding guidelines for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) resulted mainly from a battle for hegemony between the Culture Ministry, headed by Gilberto Gil, and the Department of Government Communication & Strategic Management (Secom), headed by Luiz Gushiken. The sources say the ministry was discomfited by being left out of decisions on the SOEs' cultural investment budget, which amounts to some 600m Brazilian Reals this year, and encouraged film directors to protest. A convenient opportunity was provided by Eletrobras and Furnas, considered clumsy in the way they announced a policy of requiring sponsored projects to conform to certain social principles. The sources also say President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva then ordered Gilberto Gil and Luiz Gushiken to agree on a joint approach before the media blew the conflict up into a problem of major proportions. This agreement was concluded on Tuesday, May 6. The key decision was to share responsibility for official cultural budgets in the hope of calming the troubled waters.
The sources say the Government was struck by the emphasis given the protest by media organizations belonging to the Globo group, especially O Globo, a leading daily newspaper, the Globo.com portal, the GloboNews pay-TV channel, and TV Globo's networked news programs Jornal Nacional and Jornal da Globo. Some believe Globo may have a direct interest in the issue because of Globo Filmes. Others in the Government think Globo sought to weaken Secom just as it's pursuing a paradigm shift in the allocation of the official advertising budget. For example, it wants to purchase at a discount large blocks of advertising time and space for the entire public sector including SOEs, allocating the budget in accordance with audience ratings or newspaper circulation numbers. Globo reportedly compares this approach with the strategy used by multinational media bureaus, to which it's opposed. The TV network has an aggressive sales strategy of its own, capturing more than 75% of the TV advertising cake with only 50% of average audience ratings.
The Government has signaled that it won't give ground on this issue. Secom will choose three agencies to take care of all governmental advertising in a competitive bidding to be held soon. The policy of buying in blocks and allocating funds in accordance with audience ratings is apparently not about to change.