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PANAMA - Telecoms & IT

Jorge Tzortzatos

CEO, Medcom

Bio

Jorge Tzortzatos is the CEO of Medcom and a board member of various affiliated companies related to sports productions and rights acquisition, advertising for Google in Panama, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, among others.

“We have to produce content that is relevant for Panamanians.”
Medcom is the biggest multimedia company in Panama, with open signal TV stations, cable channels, radio stations, and a digital media platform with the widest reach in the country.
What role did Medcom play during the pandemic amid the subsequent need of information?

During the pandemic and lockdown, obviously, there was a lot of information appearing on social media. But what we found out was that people turned to real networks and official media to find the truth. And that was a big plus for media businesses such as Medcom. It effectively solidified us as a media company, with more eyeballs watching our news and our programs. We have the best professionals in the media industry working for us. Right now, we are more efficient, and ready for any adverse circumstance that might arise. We know that we can face that challenge head on and keep doing our jobs. If anything, the pandemic raised our level of professionalism. We did not miss a day of news, a single hour or program. We were there for the Panamanian people during the pandemic. Meanwhile, we also played an important role in prevention and education with several campaigns against COVID-19 and the production and broadcast of school classes in radio and TV. Panama is different from other countries in Central and Latin America. TV is still a growing medium, and an important one. The average daily consumption per person is 6.26 hours. And with our flagship—the most important TV channel in Panama, in Telemetro—we have been able to sustain our growth post pandemic. We have been the sector leaders for the past 12 years. And that growth has been maintained for the two years since the pandemic struck.

What is Medcom’s view of the sector’s evolution over the years?

When Telemetro was born, it was a different content producer than all of the other TV channels at that time. We started as a small local channel in the city. And our growth was fueled by a tight group of local talent that was bringing something different to entertainment and news for Panamanians. We started doing local productions and programs that were able to make Panamanians part of the programs themselves. There was a real connection made. In addition, we had a small portion of content acquired from other countries, which is why local production became the most important for us. We were making the content here, and that underpinned the connection that Telemetro established with the viewer. It changed the nature of television during that time. And we have continued to evolve and improve over time. We are raising the bar every year. The production quality is comparable to the world’s largest TV broadcasters. We invest in technology and in the best equipment. Despite being a small country, we have invested in high-definition television, and were the first in Panama to do so. We also have robotic cameras and the range of technology that may be found in the world’s TV giants. All this, when compared to other countries, from a small operation. Companies that sell us the TV rights to certain game shows and other programming assure us that we have the best quality service that they have encountered in Latin America, and even in some parts of Europe. That is something that we are extremely proud of.

What is your outlook for the future of media production in Panama?

We will continue to grow in terms of local content. We are trying to invest in production companies, and partner people with good stories to tell, movies to make, and documentaries that they want to produce. When someone needs a partner such as us, we are available. Other than that, we will continue producing local content that connects with Panamanians. That is our job. We have to produce content that is relevant for Panamanians. That is something that we have been doing—on TV—for over 60 years and, in radio, for over 70.

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