“Cultural war” and climate skepticism: the recipe for conservative Brazilian “Netflix”

“Even his detractors recognize the accuracy” from the name chosen by its founders, quips the daily Brazil correspondent El País about Brasil Paralelo (“Parallel Brazil”). This media company, particularly popular with conservative audiences, is experiencing exponential growth.

Through a vast catalog of films, series, documentaries (including around a hundred original productions and international works) but also digital books and online courses, the platform opens to its approximately 400,000 subscribers “a door to dive into a parallel universe, where ultraconservative values, historical revisionism and scientific denialism prevail”continues the journalist.

Created in August 2016 by three young advertisers, Brasil Paralelo surfed on the polarization of Brazilian society, the result of growing discontent with traditional political parties.

At the time, the main target of the protests was the left-wing president Dilma Rousseffaccused of accounting manipulation before to be impeached by Congress few weeks later. At the same time, the gigantic anti-corruption operation Lava Jato splashed across the entire political spectrum.

It is in this context that the Brazilian extreme right is “come out of the closet without complexes” and that its candidate, Jair Bolsonaroended up win the October 2018 presidential election.

The credo of the “culture war”

If “the Brasil Paralelo offer is very appreciated by Brazilians who are part of Bolsonarism”, its leaders “aim wider” and seek to reach all conservatives, an audience that“they aspire to convert to their creed of cultural war and liberalism”, observes the correspondent ofEl País.

And although the streaming service claims to be a plural space and without political bias, its founders, who “present themselves as proud conservatives and fervent defenders of freedom,” are convinced that “the battle of our time is (that of) stories”, she continues.

Feminism, abortion, legalization of drugs, climate change… The themes chosen are those of “culture wars” led by global players in “the most reactionary rights”. Subjects on which the platform “proposes a truth rooted in alternative facts” or facts “real, but combined to make an alternative reading”, specifies the journalist.

Among the main successes of the platform, she mentions an original production, a controversial documentary which revisits the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985). An approach “in tune with the speech” of Jair Bolsonaro, then newly elected at the head of Brazil, and for whom “the military coup was actually a revolution” against a supposed communist threat.

Released last November, another documentary “compares abortion to the Holocaust”, adopted “a contemptuous tone towards the supporters of (his) decriminalization in Brazil and “downplays the argument that abortion is a public health issue,” lift up the daily Folha de São Paulo.

As for the documentary Smoke screenviewed 2.4 million times on YouTube, it “questions climate change, the relationship between agro-industrial activities and environmental devastation” And “spreads lies about the supposed interests of foreign NGOs in the Amazon”, point The Intercept Brazil.

4 million euros in advertising spending

How to explain the popularity of the platform? In an opinion article published last September by the conservative daily O Estado de São Pauloa journalist sees in the country’s medium-sized cities – whose population “doesn’t have much access to culture” large urban centers – a prime target for the streaming service.

“Brazilians have little access to education and do not know their history,” and in these fast-growing cities, “Brasil Paralelo gives alone, without competition and on a large scale, its version of the country, (…) in a playful way and with conviction”.

To attract more and more subscribers, the platform does not skimp on resources. In addition to campaigns on Google and YouTube, she is the Brazilian champion of advertising investments on Facebook and Instagram, with nearly 25 million reais (4 million euros) spent in less than four years with Meta, owner of these two networks. social.

With a turnover of nearly 180 million reais last year (32 million euros), compared to 1.3 million in 2016 (228,000 euros), Brasil Paralelo intends to continue its rise. To do this, observed O Estado de São Paulo in another articlethe platform now seeks to “distance yourself from Bolsonarism” and include “liberal voices in part of its content”, which however still remains very “anchored in the defense of conservative values”.

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