The Population Media Center, Inc. (PMC), is a United States non-profit organisation with global reach that strives to improve the health and well being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies such as dramas on radio and television. PMC is working with Comunicarte, a non-governmental organisation based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to incorporate scenes dealing with social content into prime-time programmes on TV Globo.
Communication Strategies: 

Partnership is a key strategy for developing the programme themes. Staff members from PMC and Comunicarte meet regularly with writers from TV Globo’s programmes to suggest themes and storylines. Rather than pushing for the inclusion of
one issue in various programmes, PMC states that the strategy involves providing TV Globo’s writers with information on "a wide range of social and health issues, so they are seen as being responsive to the network’s needs and not just pursuing their own agenda."

In 2003, 9 telenovelas carried social themes suggested by Comunicarte/PMC-Brazil: Malhação (Working Out), Agora é que são Elas (Now That They Are Girls), Mulheres Apaixonadas (Passionate Women), Anjo Mau (Bad Angel), Celebridades (Celebrities), Sabor da Paixão (Passion's Flavor), Chocolate com Pimenta (Chocolate with Peppers), O Beijo do Vampiro (Kiss of the Vampire), and Esperança (Hope). A total of 1,354 scenes dealing with social issues were incorporated into these telenovelas. Of those:

  • 257 themes dealt with gender relations, including marital conflicts, domestic violence, conception, and risky sexual behavior;

208 scenes discussed sexual and reproductive health, such as artificial insemination, male sterility, condom use and other contraceptive methods, pregnancy (maternal and prenatal health), family planning, and unavoidable health risks such as spontaneous abortion; and 159 scenes dealt with issues of sexuality, including virginity, loss of virginity, adolescent sexuality, homosexuality, and the pressure on youth to engage in sex.

In 2004, the PMC/Comunicarte partnership's influence led TV Globo’s telenovelas to integrate 1,172 scenes dealing with reproductive health, small family size, gender relations, and related social and health issues.

Comunicarte/PMC-Brazil also developed a manual on social merchandising. The team began collaborating with ANDI (Agency for the Rights of Children) to more effectively incorporate scenes dealing with children's rights. Comunicarte/PMC-Brazil also participated in numerous conferences, forums, and events to promote social merchandising as an instrument of education.

In addition, Comunicarte and PMC staff monitors Brazilian news media coverage of population issues and provides reports that are used in 3 publications of the Children’s Rights News Service: Newsclip
Analysis, Free Radicals, and Young Media.

Development Issues: 

Health, Women's and Children's Rights, Gender, Family Planning.

Key Points: 

Over the past five years, social content has become a distinguishing characteristic of TV Globo. The Brazilian government recently acknowledged the power of social merchandising, stating, "The telenovela is the strongest audiovisual tool of the country and can be used as a weapon to educate the current population. It is a source of information and entertainment. Current telenovelas have already integrated themes into dramas, such as political corruption, AIDS, and use of drugs, and now the government proposes to use them to stimulate studying, reading and learning."

The Minister of Education, Cristovam Buarque, reinforced his belief in the power of the media by saying recently, "It is advantageous to use the power of TV, because it is present in 88% of Brazilian homes."

Partner Text: 

Population Media Center, Inc. (PMC), Comunicarte, TV Globo. PMC’s work in Brazil is supported by a grant from the Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation.


Emails from NaHyun Cho and William Ryerson to The Communication Initiative on August 20 2004 and August 29 2005, respectively; and PMC's 2004 annual report [PDF].