The Business Year

Though print revenues are dropping in Portugal, as everywhere else, radio and TV are holding steady and digital is on a long upward tick, forcing firms to create better content by the week.

Pedro Duarte

President, Strategic Council for Digital Economy (SCDE)

Members of the SCDE are some of the most relevant global technology companies in Portugal today, many of which are excellent case studies in this new digital world. Some of them are start-ups that later became global in their activities. We also have academic members that focus on these issues from the University of Lisbon to others in Porto, Aveiro, and elsewhere. In general, we have a far more decentralized approach. For our work, it is crucial that SCDE has the perspective of someone with experience in the public sector. Their experience, feedback, and input are particularly useful for us. We are a diverse group with a great deal of different perspectives and approaches. At the end of the day, we all have the same objective, which is to make Portugal a more pro-digital country. In that sense, we aim to promote economic development in the country as well as a better social balance. When it comes to making the necessary changes, these can, and should be, made in Portugal. All partnerships are therefore relevant. The biggest challenge is to have a wider adoption of technology by the entire population working together. Research centers are extremely useful, as are associations with industry, to work more closely with people in the field. We need to be there and better linked with the structure of the real economy.

Victor Ribeiro

President & CEO, Global Media Group

Our group went through a turnaround in the past five years; when the management team and I entered in 2014, we were really driven by the need to either go up or go bust. We had no choice but to reinvent ourselves. We closed down certain unsuccessful publications and gave all our brands a digital identity by investing in that specific field. The results were fantastic, and we are pleased with the multi-brand strategy. Instead of having a single strong umbrella brand, we have a relatively anonymous umbrella with Global Media Group, but with extremely strong individual supporting brands. Web users could not care less about umbrella brands; they only want a great experience and the right content. We invested in brands, content, and distribution, and started doing basic things such as configuring our sites not only for PCs, but tablets and mobile phones, and improving the quality of our teams. After the turnaround, people accepted the new digital era because it is clearly all about producing excellent content. In general, the trick with digital transformation is doing it right. The monetization of digital is not going as desired. Print media revenue is falling, while digital and radio are only slightly growing. TV is also stagnating. Monetization is a tough business because we cannot compete with the largest social networks, but instead have to produce excellent content and attract a great deal of traffic.

Irene Mia Global

Editorial Director, Irene Mia Global

Portugal has made important strides in terms of reinforcing its competitive fundamentals while also putting its house in order from a macroeconomic point of view. The economy’s return to growth has boosted market opportunities, while structural reforms have improved the efficiency of its markets, including labour. Red tape has also been eased, and basic drivers of competitiveness, such as infrastructure and primary education, are also in good shape. However, political stability and effectiveness could be improved. The current political setting, with a minority administration, is more prone to disruptive policy changes. What is more, despite a stronger fiscal position and better GDP growth, the country remains vulnerable to market turbulence, and the banking sector continues to be affected by numerous weaknesses. For Portugal to sustain growth over time, generating innovation will become increasingly important. Reinforcing the ecosystem for that will be key, including putting in place a conducive education and training system, generating synergies between academia and industry, investing in R&D, and improving market efficiencies at every level. Portugal is 33rd out of 82 countries in 2017-21 in our Business Environment Rankings, which assesses countries’ attractiveness for investors. In our European sample, it ranks 15th out of 18, which signals room for improvement.

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