New administration of RTP invests in young people and in the production of multiplatform content

The production of multiplatform content is the great goal of the new administrators of RTP, Nicolau Santos (who will be the president) and Hugo Figueiredo, recently chosen by the Independent General Council (CGI). The Strategic Project with which they applied for the administration of RTP (2021-2023), to which Expresso had access, aims to make the station public “the alpha and omega of radio, television and digital in Portugal”. But it does not provide figures or specify how the proposals will be financed.

To achieve this goal, “projects, platforms, experiences, involving young people”, among other things, the Achilles’ heel of traditional operators in general and RTP in particular, must be developed. For this, it is necessary, contrary to what has been done so far, “allocate teams, means and resources to start multiplatform development of content for young people”.

In RTP Play, concretely, “new features are needed, the continuous improvement of usability and the negotiation of native inclusion in the cable operators’ platforms”, the document reads. “Distribution solutions via OTT must also be expanded [over-the-top] of content, a trend that will be accentuated and that is also underway in several EBU operators [European Broadcasting Union].”

The Strategic Project of the new administration – which will also include a member responsible for the financial area, after a prior and binding opinion from the Government – also provides for the creation of a working group to redefine the strategies for the acquisition and distribution of content.

“The multiplatform approach is not compatible with the exclusive allocation of budgets to channels”, write Nicolau Santos (until now president of the Lusa agency) and Hugo Figueiredo (who was part of the previous administration of RTP). “It is necessary to create greater transversality and flexibility in decisions, for example, that it is possible to watch or retrieve episodes of a complete series on RTP Play, when on the TV channel only one episode per week is shown; or even, acquire sports rights for the open channel of a national team and simultaneously negotiate the remaining games of that event for the digital platform RTP Esporte. ”

Accelerating technological renewal in television and radio, in particular the migration to HD (high definition), and extending the renovation of radio studios in Lisbon – infrastructure and equipment – to the remaining locations are objectives of this administration. Technological updating should also be done at RTP, especially in Madeira, Norte and other delegations, as they consider it essential for the quality and diversity of training.

“RTP must ensure that the Regional Centers of the Azores (CRA) and Madeira (CRM) have the technical and human resources to produce and distribute not only local channels, but also feed other channels with their content”, they write. “CRA was the target of important investments that are in the final phase of implementation and training. CRM is in urgent need of technical requalification, which we propose to speed up and complete in 2022 ”. As for the Northern Production Center (CPN), they say that it “urgently needs major technical upgrading and the expansion of the television production park. The development of a consensual investment plan, which can be implemented in a timely manner has been a difficult task, but to which we will give full priority, from day one. ”

Photo Natacha Brigham / TVMais

Credibility, leadership, sobriety and diversity

In terms of content, Nicolau Santos and Hugo Figueiredo intend to provide “more agile, innovative and reliable information”, with credibility, leadership, sobriety and diversity. In other words, RTP must not only lead the media agenda (“with 30% of its professionals ‘time devoted to producing news, reports, interviews and own investigations”), but also “strictly obey the deontological criteria of the journalists’ code, confirming it with three independent sources and giving all parties the possibility of contradictory, at the same time that denounces from anonymous sources are refused ”. He must refuse “the fuss, the information-show, the mix between information and entertainment” and speak “for very diverse audiences and for all age groups”, representing the country’s diversity: “more women, more races, more genders, one much more diverse range of protagonists ”.

Over 34 pages, the new RTP administrators – at the time of drafting the document, candidates for administration – look at the various channels and platforms to present concrete measures.

RTP1, as a generalist and family channel, should “increase the diversity and accuracy of information”, betting on more films, series and documentaries and more humor and family programs. You must also continue to invest in major musical, sporting, cultural and political events, including talent programs, general culture contests, dissemination of traditions and major sporting events. RTP2, on the other hand, marked by a strong cultural component, should have “more culture and its own production”.

RTP Esporte, in turn, must “bet on the diversity of modalities and levels,“ in women’s modalities ”and“ make agreements with the federations for the transmission of the maximum number of events ”, while RTP Palco should“ bet on production and establish partnerships to increase the file size ”.

In the case of RTP Memória, however, there is still no concrete proposal. They just write: “To revisit under the new concession contract. Transforming into an RTP 4 in conjunction with RTP 2? ”

Operational efficiency, contained personnel costs and adequate investment

Criticizing the “many changes in direction, many human resources policies and many organizational frustrations, which left deep negative marks and mistrust between the organization and the management”, the two administrators say they propose a different approach, which involves training projects, valuing professional, career clarification, in an open, transparent and horizontal way.

Claims, moreover, reiterated this week by the Union of Telecommunications and Audiovisual Communication Workers, which said in a statement that it will open wage negotiations and that it wants to propose the resolution of the issues on the agenda. Among them are “requalifications / qualifications, enhancement of careers, combating precariousness (a permanent job must correspond to an effective bond), the lack of work equipment”.

About the recent controversy that led to a clash between the RTP administration and the Opinion Council, which left the public station without a viewer provider, Nicolau Santos and Hugo Figueiredo say nothing. They just underline that they see the figure of the provider’s office, with which they want to work together, “as a creator of great impact on civic education, as it not only monitors and in a way oversees RTP’s global activity, but can also play a role didactic in explaining the importance of the themes, the credible sources and the correct interpretation of the facts ”. About the Opinion Council, they write only that “the interactions should be increased” by the administration with it, “with the objective of improving the representativeness in the contents of the different realities and sensitivities”.

The Strategic Project for the next three years, however, does not present figures or specify how the proposals will be financed. It just says that the objective is “continuous improvement of operational efficiency, within a framework of staff costs contained and investment appropriate to the challenges identified, always evaluating the cost-benefit ratio”. In addition, the concern also involves maintaining the positive results of RTP – which in 2020 had more than three million euros in profits and 219.9 million euros in revenues – and a controlled remunerated debt.

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