Alberto Artigas discusses the state of television in Spain.
Television here in Spain is, for my taste, kind of a joke. There’s TV1 and TV2, national networks under the same umbrella. And there are the newer ones: Antena 3, Telecinco, Cuatro and La Sexta. TV1 supports the government. If the government says, “Go that way,” it says, “Go this way,” and vice versa. For example, the PP is currently in charge. And I’ve heard, so I’m not sure, but I’ve heard that there is a TV series about the Republic, but they were told not to release it, and acted accordingly. Antenna 3 has always been a bit more right wing and conservative. And Telecinco, it’s reality TV shows, gossip shows, Sálvame, all these things, which don’t do anything, and exist simply for people to watch them, to watch them so they can feel like they’re doing something, when, actually, they’re just filling a void with the great lives of all these minor celebrities. After that, there’s Cuatro and La Sexta which are a little bit newer. Cuatro was of a little higher quality, but when the Telecinco group bought it, it went… The moment when Iñaki Gabilondo left and was no longer presenting the news, it began its decline. Now it’s identical to Telecinco. All the shows they can’t put on Telecinco end up on Cuatro. And La Sexta, the more progressive, left wing channel, was purchased by the group behind Antena 3. And while this group is interested in having the left-wing audience share of the market, they also made it less left-wing. It’s not in their political interest, but keeping it a bit progressive retains the audience. Then, there’s Catalan TV, mainly TV3, Super 3 and 324, which is 24-hour news. It’s, more or less, the same situation. It belongs to the government, and they do as the government says. As the government is setting a pro-independence agenda, so does TV3. And I think it’s all the same, because, in the end, television here in Spain… even the government’s public television is not here to create cultural nor quality content. Their focus is on achieving economic or political goals. An example of this is TV2, which broadcasts mass every morning, but wouldn’t show the Pride Parade because “the public wasn’t interested in the event.” The fact that in a secular state, mass is considered to be in public interest, but a parade heralding the rights of a minority is not, Well, it is like that, and I think that illustrates the shape of television here.