This is article will introduce you to Silvio Santos, one of the most successful businessmen in Brazil, focusing on his trajectory, success and role in the Brazilian television.
Senor Abravanel, popularly known as Silvio Santos, is a television host, entrepreneur and owner of Grupo Silvio Santos, that includes several companies, such as the television network SBT, which is one of the most influential ones in Brazil.
Silvio Santos worked on the streets of Rio de Janeiro as a street vendor at the age of 14. During this period, he was invited to work in a radio station, but as he made more money as a camelô, a Brazilian name for a street vendor, he left the broadcaster job a month later.
Some time later he went to São Paulo and after taking several different jobs that included prizes raffling, Silvio Santos got a part on a TV show that was a major success. At the same time, he bought the company Baú da Felicidade, which later would become part of Grupo Silvio Santos.
Finances and Opinion Power
With a net worth of 2.7 billion BRL, Silvio Santos is the single biggest taxpayer natural person in Brazil.
In 1976, he started to fight for the rights of having his own television network, as he wanted to expand his prizes raffling.
In 1981 he finally had the permission to operate what would become TVS, in São Paulo. The TV channel expanded very quickly and became what today is known as SBT, a brand that would be widespread throughout the country by the end of the 80s.
Silvio Santos also tried to get involved in politics and even ran for president in 1989, but due to irregularities in the party he had affiliated to, his candidacy was contested.
In 2008, Grupo Silvio Santos completed 50 years and was then formed by 44 companies, with ventures that go from agribusiness to banks and hotels.
Impact on the Brazilian Population
As he comes from a humble background, people tend to identify themselves with him and see him as the proof that wealth can be achieved through hard work and persistence.
Another important point is that as he was born to immigrant parents, Silvio Santos embodies this concept that Brazilians are the mixture of several different ethnicity.
He is also the responsible for providing access to major international TV phenomena, such as Celebrity Big Brother, Wheel of Fortune, Candid Camera, Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader and Who Wants to Be Millionaire.
Instead of broadcasting these shows – that are mostly exclusive of paid TV channels –, he created Brazilian versions of them, so that people would not only watch the shows, but also participate in them and compete for several prizes.
These shows would often appeal to the poor, as he would raffle money, houses, appliances, cars and even promote family reunions and marriages. However, it did not prevent him from inviting celebrities and politicians who would participate in his shows and donate their prizes to NFIs.
His trajectory has lead to many comparisons between him and Sir. Richard Branson, the British Baron. Due to his extremely charismatic personality, Silvio Santos is one of the most influential people in Brazil.
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