Turbulent times get complicated in RTVE. The public entity, in an agitated sector in itself by the platforms of streaming, faces a minimum audience and a general election, on April 28, which will affect their stability. In recent days there has been a stir in its programming. Several of your bets, like MasterChef, have changed the release date, supposedly to improve their results. What is happening in the public body?
The answer is difficult because the future is now less clear than ever. The entity responds to the journalist Rosa María Mateo, who is the sole administrator after the arrival of Pedro Sánchez to the Moncloa after the motion of censorship, but his work is provisional. "It has taken a turn to the news at the time of plurality, you can not raise anything future. These junctures of no stability dislocate even people in the house, who would have fantastic projects, but nobody dares to start because they do not know if they will continue, if there will be financing, if the new address is going to bet on this future. There is a lot of uncertainty, "says Carmen Caffarel, who was the general director of RTVE between 2004 and 2007.
"I had to name a manager for this transition who knew the industry and the televisions well; to form a powerful team that opens possibilities for a later step slower ", adds Miquel Francés, professor of Audiovisual Communication at the University of Valencia and collaborator in some TVE programs.
"The television landscape changes to marches that even academics are unable to assimilate. We are almost passing from the era of the war of audiences between Atresmedia, Mediaset and RTVE to go to that counterpart of television offered by the big operators of content such as HBO, Netflix, Amazon, Movistar, etc, "says Caffarell. What returns the former director to a classic requirement of the house: TVE has to be an advance, a laboratory where you can try new formats and products, something that private channels can not afford to depend on advertising. "I would have to bet more for new technologies, for television in streaming, for the contents on the Internet, because obviously the ways of watching television are changing and the big generalist televisions are losing the young, "says Caffarell.
In digital is where the house has grown. In the fall of 2017 it premiered the Playz platform, with content for young adults, and increasingly have their own videos on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. In November they presented, together with Atresmedia and Mediaset, Loves TV, a platform in which the viewer has direct access to their television (if it connects to the Internet) to the contents of the three groups. But here are the limitations: for a series of technical requirements, only one and a half million people can do it. "Television has to have a very powerful transmedia platform, and that's what TVE does not have. Right now the flow, the organization chart, the infrastructure, the forms, the means of working, the professional profiles, are totally from the golden age of the analog, "explains Frances.
This technological advance is also essential internally. "The problem that TVE and all regional public television stations have is that they are still working on analog workflows," says the professor. "What they lack is a big change in the synergies, in the work flow. Digitize more, use novelty elements for big events, as they did well in the re-transmission of the Goya awards, but we have to move on more user-related things ". Streamline production, amortize existing staff, create unique newsrooms, redirect workflow to digital are some of the ideas that French sees essential. "To move a mobile unit, that of people who have to move there, that's the Pleistocene, it's not viable," says the professor.
The digital not only serves to update itself; it also favors international growth and the Spanish-speaking market is fundamental for RTVE. For example, if everything goes as planned, in a few months RTVE Play will come out, an on-demand payment platform. Latin America, Canada and the USA called RTVE Play.
Good data online
In its web page, RTVE.es, achieved in 2018 its historical record: 11,537,000 unique users, almost 25% more than the previous year, twenty-fifth place in the list of sites of Spain, according to a Reuters Institute study. Six months earlier they were 42nd.
Two weeks ago, the other side of the coin arrived. The set of RTVE channels (La 1, La 2, Teledeporte, Clan and 24 Horas) added a 15.3% share of the screen, the worst in its history. It was the worst February of the 1. A reminder that TVE can not ignore the traditional broadcast. In Spain 75% of television consumption continues to be through DTT and in 2020 another problem is seen, when the radio spectrum is reduced to make room for 5G. "The old and the new must coexist," says French. "There will be a consumption of elderly people, passive, who will want to see television as it touches, therefore you must maintain a linear, direct broadcast of a larger population, but there is also a lot of population from which there will be no return" .
But the chain is losing its audience since the time of Zapatero. It has gone from annual averages above 14% of screen share to scrape just 10% in the two months recorded this year. A minor problem for many (the vocation of public television should not be the audience), but a problem. "A television that ends up being residual, as may be the model of the Americans, would not fulfill its vocation of public service," says Caffarel.
Right now, everything is a challenge for the house. "To make an internal change, you need to have external stability, a project, time, political support, parliamentary support and legal measures that allow you to do things," continues a company management source. Whoever is the next president of the government, from within RTVE fear that there will be no consensus to work on everyone's television. And for "todos", at TVE they think about citizens, of all ages, and that they watch television from anywhere.
Within the corporation they complain about being treated as a ministry when they are a company. Among other things, for transparency. Competing in the market against Mediaset and Atresmedia for large programs, series and professionals is more complicated if the salaries of the presenters are made public or the contracts with the production companies are shown. "You are revealing all your business strategy, you are naked before the competition", says an internal source. "The law by which we rule is 2006, when there were no social networks or YouTube was used, it has become absolutely obsolete, the digital world does not exist in our legislation. The political class has not bothered to adapt the rules of the game to reality. We live in a lot of ambiguities, "they complain from within.
RTVE also has a challenge in its staff, in the wage bill and in the difficulty when hiring services, works and supplies to be a public entity. At present it has 6,500 workers, 10% of them temporary. 40% of your expenses are in personnel. "It is a company that has to compete with others in the same activity market, but they do not have the limitations of hiring," explains Federico Montero Hita, corporate CEO of RTVE. The average age is 53 years. "There is a problem of aging and decompensation of activities that would have to be solved. Next year the oldest of the pyramid will begin to retire, the following year, more …. is an issue that must be raised and resolved, "says the manager.
"The most complicated issue of the company is the hiring of personnel. Being a public administration, we are subject to all the limitations and prohibitions of budget laws, which prevent the recruitment of personnel in recent years, not even in the replacement rate, "explains Montero. The last time new people entered was after an ERE in 2006. The company went from 10,000 employees to 6,000. Then came a thousand new people, of whom half were people who were already inside and the other half were young people. It's been 13 years. "It's a matter of age and qualification, there are a lot of new tasks and profiles that do not exist," says a managerial source of the chain. "We must promote policies of labor rehabilitation, new profiles, not to change everything, but many things," says French.