Photo: Thiany Rodríguez for Panorama

As the communicational hegemony doubles down on its attempts to further control the Internet by selectively blocking sites and arresting social media users, it still depends on cadenas nacionales, mandatory broadcasts on all free-to-air stations, to push its agenda.

Is there people who follow them? Why?

NGO Medianálisis and pollster Delphos made a study earlier this year to answer those two questions. Turns out, there’s still a large group of Venezuelans that take their time to listen to what Nicolás Maduro and his government have to say.

When asked “What do you do when a cadena is on?” 44% of the respondents admit that they tune in for part of it or even for the whole thing (remember, it can last for hours), while a 56% prefer to either sign-off, change to cable or go online or on social media.

The results are broken down by age, showing how older people (+50) is the largest group who watches or listens to it through the end (almost 40%). On the other hand, young people prefer to look elsewhere.

Turns out, there’s still a large group of Venezuelans that take their time to listen to what Nicolás Maduro and his government have to say.

And why those who pay attention do so? Almost half of the respondents say “Because they’re our authorities;” 32% prefer to say “Because I like what they say” and only a single person polled says that not following cadenas could mean trouble at work.

There are also reasons why many choose to look at certain parts only or not follow at all: 31% say “they’re not interested in politics” (especially among the middle class and poor sectors), and another 31% say that cadenas “say many irrelevant things.”

There’s still a major audience (those who carry the carnet de la patria), but even among them, there are those who would rather do something else than just sit down and watch.

Medianálisis compares this study with their previous efforts on the subject (focus groups), noticing how the majority of answers a couple of years ago were mostly “turn the radio or TV off.” That being said, the fact is there are still many people who watch or listen to cadenas out of loyalty, to get some information about what’s going on or simply because there’s nothing else to do.

Media scholar Andrés Cañizalez points out in his 2012 book “The Mediatic Presidency” that on the day of Hugo Chavez’s first presidential inauguration (February 2, 1999), the total time of the four cadenas covering it was eight hours and 14 minutes.

Few could predict back then that what used to be an exception, would become the rule in Revolution.

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.