Grupo Abril owns the weekly news magazine of greater circulation in Brazil, Veja, with an average of 1,111,968 copies sold in 2016. It’s circulation is way ahead of the second place, Época magazine, owned by Grupo Globo, with an average of 340,195 copies sold in the same period. In the list of 10 magazines with largest circulation, 6 of them belong to Grupo Abril.
Despite its dominant position in the contemporary magazine market in Brazil, Grupo Abril is much smaller today than it was by the end of the 20th century. All throughout the group’s history, Veja magazine, with its large circulation and focus on politics, had a huge role in the formation of Brazilian public opinion. Its profile changed throughout its existence, acompanying changes in Grupo Abril management and its executives political stances.
The group was founded by Brazilian naturalized Italian-American Vicor Civita. His brother, César Civita, worked for Italian publishing house Mondadori, which had the rights for the publication of Disney magazines in Italian. During the war, he went to Argentina, where he founded Editora Abril, with the rights to publish Donald Duck’s comic books in Latin America. César suggested that Victor opened a publisher in Brazil, with the support of Disney and Time-Life. These companies, following a policy of spreading north-american cultural values during the Cold War, wanted to strenghten their presence in Latin American countries, but had problems with these countries legal restrictions to foreign capital in communication companies. Editora Abril was created in this context, based in São Paulo, with 500 thousand dollars investment by the owners, besides loans and a society with Smith de Vasconcelos group and Minas Gerais enterpreneur of Italian descent Gordiano Rossi. Victor Civita had shareholding control of the company.
The publisher started its activities with the publication of Donald Duck’s comic book, by Disney, and, after a few years, of a version of the Bible called “The most beautiful Bible in the World”, and Conhecer encyclopedia. In 1961, they launched other Disney products, such as the Zé Carioca comics and, in 1969, the Brazilian comic book Recreio. In the 1960s they created segment magazines. For the female readership they launched Cláudia magazine in 1961. Today it’s the fourth magazine in circulation in Brazil, with an average of 327,435 copies sold every month. For the male readership, it published in 1960 Quatro Rodas magazine (currently the eighth in circulation), following the expansion of automobile industry in the country, promoted by development policies in president Juscelino Kubitschek’s government. They also created Abril Distribuidora in 1961, which distributed not only Abril magazines but also books and encyclopedias produced by Abril Cultural (1968-1982) to newstands all over the country.
Similarly to other communication companies in Brazil, Abril had governmental aid in their expansion. In the 1950s the government started subsidizing the national paper industry and tax exemption for book publishing. In1963, Civita bought a new printer for the company, financed by the then called BNDE (National Bank for Economical Development), after convincing its director, Garrido Torres, to include graphical industries in the list of “base industries” that the bank supported. The group also developed, still in the 1960s, educational material for the MOBRAL (Brazilian Movement for Literacy), an institution created by the dictatorship for spreading literacy which substituted the Paulo Freire method used until then. The group also founded a network of hotels – Quatro Rodas, same name used for the car magazine and travel guide published by Abril, and also Slaughterhouses.
The publisher only started publishing political journalism content during the Military Dictatorship (1964-1985), by initiative of one of Victor Civita’s sons, Roberto Civita. In this period, the publisher launched two news magazines: Realidade (1966-1976) and Veja (1968-today). Both magazines started publishing articles on political and behavior themes that displeased the Brazilian military regime, had some editions confiscated, but were able to negotiate with the censors and survive. Brazilian Abril grew during the Military Dictatorship, but César Civita’s publisher had another fate. In Argentina, Editora Abril faced political opposition from both peronists and the military, until they had to finish their activities in 1975, with the family’s exile in Italy.
In the 1980s, they founded Fundação Victor Civita, which created a series of publicatons focused on education and awards dedicated to education professionals with outstanding practice. Roberto Civita assumed the group’s direction in 1990, after his father died, and sustained the group’s growth: he invested in Cable TV (TVA, DirecTV, MTV, TV Abril, ESPN Brasil, among others) and Internet (BOL Portal). He also founded Abril Educação, one of the largest private education groups in Brazil. The group brought together textbook publishers Ática and Scipione (their main client being the Ministry for Education), education systems Anglo, Ser, Maxi and GEO, pH courses and schools, Grupo ETB (Escolas Técnicas do Brasil), in São Paulo, SIGA, a prep course for public examinations, Escola Satélite, language schools Red Balloon and Wise Up and Livemocha, online community for english learning. In 2007, Grupo Abril, a major shareholder for Dinap distributor, announced thei fusion with Fernando Chinaglia’s distributor, creating a monopoly of magazine distribution in Brazil (today called Total Express).
Outside the magazine distribution business, other businesses in Civita hands died out. They couldn’t make them financially viable. Today, BOL portal, incorporated by UOL, belongs to Grupo Folha. Cable TV companies have also been sold to other companies, as have some important magazines owned by the group. Abril Educação became Somos Educação with shareholding conrol by investment fund Tarpon Gestora de Recursos S.A. (74.5%) and the Government of Singapore (18.5%). Only the Editora Abril magazines and distribution and logistic companies remained. Even the group’s most important product, Veja magazine, is going through financial problems due to editorial discredit.
Naspers (Myriad International Holdings B.V.)
Naspers is a South African media conglomerate. It was connected to the Nasionale Party (NS) and supported the Apartheid regime.
Other Print Outlets
Magazines: Veja, Veja São Paulo, Veja Rio, Veja Comer & Beber, Exame, Boa Forma, Claudia, Casa Claudia, Casa Cor, Elle, Estilo, Guia dos Estudante, Mundo Estranho, Cosmopolitan, Quatro Rodas, Saúde, Superinteressante, Viagem e Turismo, VIP, Arquitetura & Construção, Minha Casa, Placar, Você S/A, Você RH
Other Online Outlets
Veja Rio (http://vejario.abril.com.br), Veja BH (http://vejabh.abril.com.br), Veja SP (http://vejasp.abril.com.br) e Capricho (http://capricho.abril.com.br)
Distribution and Logistics
Distribution and Logistics DGB Logística Distribuição Geográfica do Brasil S.A.
ABC - Abril Branded Content
ABD - Abril Big Data
Digital Magazine Platform
Education, Sports & Social Action
Fundação Victor Civita
Casa Cor América Latina - mostra de arquitetura, design de interior e paisagismo
The South African media conglomerate Naspers owns 30% of Abril. It is also the owner of 91% of the main Brazilian shopping search tool, Buscapé (buscape.com.br).
There are other international partnerships in Editora Abril: Elle – Hachette Filipacchi Presse; Estilo – Time Inc.; National Geographic Brasil – National Geographic Society; Nova – The Hearst Corporation; Playboy – Playboy Enterprises International; kids magazines – Disney; Runner's World, Men's Health e Women's Health – Rodale Inc.; and Superinteressante – GyJ España Ediciones (german group Gruner+Jahr).
Victor Civita - Italo-American, born in New York (USA), the son of rich Italian Jewish parents, part of a cultural elite divided between Milan (Italy) and New York. He started Abril publishing Disney's Donald Duck comics.
Tax/ ID Number
Revenue (Financial Data/ Optional)
2016: R$ 1,024.2
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
2016: losses of R$ 233.9
Advertising (in % of total funding)
Giancarlo Fracesco Civita, Arnaldo Figueiredo Tibyriçá, Fábio Petrossi Gallo, Marcelo Vaz Bonini, Victor Civita Neto.
Giancarlo Fracesco Civita, Victor Civita, Thomaz Souto Corrêa Netto.
Other Influential People
Walter Longo - president of Grupo Abril since 2016. He was the President and CEO of Grey Brazil, Mentor of Strategy and Innovation for the Newcomm Group (owned by Roberto Justus and the British group WPP). He was the founder and CEO of Synapsys International. He is a member of the Main Board of the conservative think thank Millennium Institute.