Television is no longer young. Atresmedia and Mediaset celebrated their 30th anniversary recently and Televisión Española is twice their age, on their way to 64 years. Their coffers are full of archives and, thanks to the advance in the digitization of these funds, these funds are increasingly a major part of the main Spanish media. The programs and spaces in chains and websites and social networks that make nostalgia and the history lesson their banner have shot up in the grills, especially in the public one. This year, TVE has released Blood Ties, TV Treasures and Typical Spanish, where they exploit these resources with increasing technical ease; Next to it are formats recognized by the audience such as Cachitos de hierro y cromo (especially its popular installment of Nochevieja), Ochéntame (which recovered images from the eighties in relation to the series Cuéntame, and which will now be converted into Novéntame ), Journey to the center of television, How we laugh, or, Take salami in Telecinco.

These files have also allowed the discovery of images such as Penélope Cruz participating in a TVE contest when she was 15 years old or Jorge Sanz as a child, taking his first steps as an actor. The last discovery was to see Adolfo Suárez give Franco directions on how he should speak to the camera. In current spaces such as Lazos de sangre, the chain recovers appearances of famous people: the last one was Carmen Sevilla (of whom they also have an extensive record in Telecinco). “Since they have been digitized, the use of the funds has multiplied dramatically. Now an editor of Journey to the center of television or an editor of a newscast have direct access to the file, without us being intermediaries, they can cut the plans they need and we restore it in high resolution. We leave it on the computer and they can assemble their piece without leaving the table ”, explains Alberto de Prada, director of the Documentary Fund of TVE.

“This use and abuse of the archive is intended to feed your audience and give them what they want. They are not going to capture, or are not going to do, another audience, but to retain what they already have and give them the medicine that public television needs. It is a target that very well recognizes that TV, that takes him and evokes good moments, when he was younger and TV represented a universe and a very particular and unique soundtrack, not this audiovisual abundance of now. This is the key to good nostalgia, and public television is using it very well, because that file, which belongs to everyone, tells good stories, ”explains television analyst Mariola Cubells.

The digitization of the archive started on RTVE in 1999 with the funds of Radio Nacional and, after years of preparation, it began for television content in 2008. In four years, 400,000 hours of video were digitized and the foundations were established to make them accessible to group work teams. As of today, a million hours have been treated. “We are at 90% of digitized funds. And we want to start by the end of this year, that the pandemic has long delayed us, the project to digitize the territorial centers. There are about 160,000 hours of video, « says the manager.

« All the TVs in the world are on that road, it is a general phenomenon, » says De Prada. At Mediaset and Atresmedia they are not yet exploiting their files with such enthusiasm, but they have started to do so. In the summer of 2019, Telecinco issued ¡Toma salami !, in which he reviewed the moments (the beginning of the chain with the Mamachicho, Big Brother, La que se avecina …) and characters (Belén Esteban, Risto Mejide, María Teresa Campos …) most famous in the history of their chains. It was well received and there was a second season earlier this year. Telecinco also broadcast for seven years I Love TV, which reviewed the best of the network on weekends and Antena 3 did the same with Los más TV.

« TVE does it very well because it is the only asset as a hallmark that sets it apart from the rest of the networks. Cachitos is a cult work that knows how to use the current narrative with those images that we have on the retina, ”says Cubells. “It is very powerful audiovisual and it reflects realities. The program that aired on Thursday Treasures of the television of The Crystal Ball is a sociological analysis of those years and what was children’s television. There are programs more fortunate than others, but these use a file well and create a well-organized audiovisual story, a narration, not like Toma salami. [que es una sucesión de cortes] »Adds the journalist. “That the filmmakers browse the archive is a way of generating ideas as well. This explosion of file-based programs is because the file is what it is, and it has that many images. The ease of use and access is now impressive, ”says the fund manager.

The pandemic has caused file-based content to go up. They were the best way to make up for the lack of series, competitions and sports broadcasts, almost everything paralyzed or postponed due to the health crisis. In Teledeporte, the programming from the beginning of the quarantine is almost entirely on file, with the recovery of historical games from various sports, old competitions, etc. « The archive is a float to cover the grill, the productions were stopped, many hours had to be covered on the grill, something that has happened on all televisions, to a greater or lesser degree, » says De Prada.

20 million documents

« In this era of streaming platforms, there is one that is RTVE A la carte, free and free, there are thousands of series and programs that are uploaded daily, » says the director. On the website of the public network you can see series, movies, contests, plays and musical performances. In the case of RTVE, the archive of 20 million documents contains material that goes beyond radio and television: writings, photographs, press collections, the magazine TeleRadio (edited between 1960 and 1983 by TVE), scores from the the entity’s orchestra, the entire No-Do, 27,000 slides from the program by Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente and the collection of images (37,000 glass plates) by the Danish Christian Franzen, who became the official photographer of Alfonso XIII and documented the Madrid nightlife of the late nineteenth century. The latter will be one of the new additions to RTVE on the archive’s public website.

“I think we are at the beginning, that we are going to continue delving into this story. Cachitos has been the great revelation. They have realized that it creates fidelity ”, explains Cubells. The value of these files is also exploited on social networks. This is what TVE does on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and shortly on Tik Tok, where he has just launched his channel. “The good use they are making of social networks is paradigmatic. Without this, they have understood that there is nothing to do. They are mixing well that world that it evokes from years ago and, if you sell it well in the networks, that murmur manages to create that story, « says the analyst.

For the chains, this digitization has been a springboard for both the production of spaces and the commercialization of archives. “The purchase of sequences for productions, apart from programs, has increased. It is continuous that there are production companies that want images for their own productions. Or that they offer us to co-produce a series or a documentary because we have that archive, ”says De Prada. In the archive of public television they also attend requests from researchers, universities and government agencies. For example, the Ministry of Education requested access to funds to mount its educational programming in La 2 and in the Clan to support students confined to their homes. Without a doubt, the 2020 pandemic will be one of the best documented and archived historical events in television history.