By Emily Faller
While Point Park students visited Portugal, Professor Paulo Faustino spoke to us about its media system, strategies and industry trends, and business challenges.
Faustino teaches at the New University of Lisbon, and he welcomed us at its Research Center in Media and Journalism to start the class’ media visit in the second country on its itinerary. He is also chair of the International Media Management Academic Association in Portugal. No identification of Faustino or note where we met. You have to have both for background and context in this article.
The 10 main media groups (he was specific, so let’s be in the article) in Portugal are owned by national groups and investors, except in the case of Media Capital. In 2005, it became controlled by Prisa Group, a Spanish company, and Bertelsmann group, a German company.
Some of the main players now are:
- Nos – A group based on predominantly national capital (Sonae Group) and Angolan, which is the leading distributor of cable TV, but recently obtained a new shareholder and help, namely capital from Angola. ??? This sentence isn’t making sense
- Impresa – A group funded by predominantly national capital, whose main activity areas are television, magazines, newspapers and distribution.
- Media Capital – dominated by Grupo Prisa (Spain), its main activities are television and radio.
- Cofina – A group founded on national capital, which focuses on the press segment, particularly newspapers and magazines.
- Global Media – A group of national investors and Angolan capital whose main assets rely on daily press (national and regional) and Radio. (You need to translate this a bit from his Portuguese to English translation …. That means adding few words. I know this is right from his PowerPoint, but we have to make it readable and understandable.)
Faustino’s lecture detailed the newspaper business dynamics and ownership concentration in Portugal and Brazil. The information for this area of concentration has been found through data and official statistics as well as other sources. A characteristic found in the Portuguese newspaper market is that media concentration movements arise in part from the need for companies to consolidate the domestic market. He also noted that the advertising market for the major Portuguese media is stable as the country continues to rebound from the economic crisis of 2008-09. (I think this is important to add.)
In the last five years, media companies became more proactive in exploring new markets. This has remained especially true with former Portuguese colonies such as Brazil and Angola. In Brazil, media companies also need to consolidate, he said, but the domestic market is very large and their space and opportunities continue to grow. While Brazilian media companies have opted to reinforce their position in the domestic market, the Brazilian newspaper publisher’s didn´t invest in internationalization strategies.
The Portuguese media system has more regulatory mechanisms than Brazil, which is very fragmented and has no regulatory body for its media sector. The connection of political actors and the media sector in Brazil, especially as owners of radio stations (although prohibited by law), is far superior to Portugal, Faustino said. The political, economic and regulatory context in Brazil (and Latin America in general) is more vulnerable than in Portugal. Based on preliminary data, Brazil’s media market is more concentrated when compared Portugal. For Portugal to continue growing the country needs to collect more date and analyze the ownership concentration in a multimedia perspective.
Where Faustino sees potential growth is the fact that the Portuguese language today is the fourth highest spoken language. Although Portugal was the pioneer country of globalization, it was only until the demographic development of Brazil and African ex-colonies that Portuguese was among the most influential languages in the international context. About 244 million people are able to speak Portuguese, while 845 million people can speak Chinese, and 328 million people can speak English.
With a language that is so widely used, it has more influence and creates a market, giving power to the speakers of that language. The value of a language is related to the number and economical power of its users, Faustino said. In a global world, the Portuguese language is an international communication language due to the economic growth of Brazil and Angola. Brazil is part of the BRIC countries, including Russia, India and China, which are the emergent markets. The recognition of better government practices in the universe of Portuguese-speaking countries also helps with international communication.