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Smart thinking from the people running the content business.

RTP's Nuno Vaz seeks more bang for his euro

Nuno Vaz, programming director at Portuguese public broadcaster RTP, reflects on the past year, offering his take on future plans and the challenges facing the company.

Nuno Vaz

Like most public broadcasters, Portugal’s RTP is not immune to the effects of the economic slowdown, despite not relying on advertising. Acquisitions are a major plank of the broadcaster’s content strategy, with recent buys including children’s series Kiri & Lou and Royals Next Door, as well as French drama The Night Logan Woke Up, UK crime drama Payback, documentary The Wonders of Europe and Lat Am series Travesuras de la Niña Mala and biographical series María Félix.

Here, RTP programming director Nuno Vaz outlines the economy’s impact on his content plans and how he’s looking to get more bang for his euro from licensed programming.

What have been the biggest changes in the Iberian TV industry?
In Portugal, 2023 was the first full year that we were able to work normally without any pandemic restrictions after 2020. Considering that we are a TV company that has hundreds of hours of live broadcasts every year, being able to get back to concerts, big parties and live shows was a return to the great days of the past before Covid and a sign of normality that we needed, both as a company and in society as a whole.

Apart from that, last year RTP began a major process of restructuring core areas of the company, adapting our working methods to the new challenges of the industry and bringing a huge wave of up-to-date organisation to our corporate structure. This means more versatility, better communication, more efficiency and a more modern approach to the business in its various segments as a whole. Part of this saw us merging our linear and digital teams as one division, instead of two separate entities that worked together.

How has the economic situation impacted your company and your commissioning?
The economic situation had a huge impact on our budgets, and thus our capacity to acquire and commission content. We have had to find creative ways of making productions happen with fewer resources, but we also must acknowledge that we had to postpone or abandon certain projects because of lack of funding. We were also forced to review costs and budgets under negotiation in the light of the new economic situation.

How are RTP’s content licensing requirements changing?
The world is changing in this area very quickly and we always try to fulfil the needs of our viewers through the content we license. That said, in light of the ongoing economic crisis, we are honestly trying to get more content for the same amount – or less – than we did in the past because the finances we have available are smaller but demand for content is higher.

Mexico’s Travesuras de la Niña Mala has been a recent success for RTP

How is your coproduction strategy evolving?
RTP always values quality over quantity. We develop several projects in coproduction with local and international prodcos and/or with RTP and other operators and OTTs. But we do this only when the content makes sense and we are able to participate in some programming that can bring us profile and our audiences can learn something from it.

What are some of the projects you have in development?
We have the responsibility to be the main driver of development in local fiction in Portugal with all types of scripted series, and we have that as one of our main goals for the year. At the same time, we are developing some entertainment formats, both locally created or licensed from international companies.

How has the growth of AVoD and FAST channels impacted your company?
We have been learning a lot from these trends and we have been following what is happening around the world, as a means of applying the experiences from others in the industry with positive outcomes, in our practices, now and in the future.

What are your company’s plans, priorities and developments?
We will be working on a new linear/digital environment, anticipating and preparing for the great changes that the industry will be seeing in the short to medium term.

What will be the biggest challenges and opportunities for the TV industry?
To evolve using the new paths created lately and the new tools at hand and to step up to the next level of evolution sooner and more surprisingly than the consumers expect. As far as artificial intelligence is concerned, it is still only the beginning and we are already witnessing some impressive developments. AI is already a game-changer for the industry and will be bigger and more significant far sooner than we expect.