Impresa: Oeiras Valley – the right place for Portugal’s leading media group
Portugal’s Impresa group has become the audience leader nationwide thanks to its engaging television content, investment in digital technology and new streaming services. Essential Business speaks to board member Cristina Vaz Tomé who explains why Oeiras Valley is the perfect home for the company.
Text: Chris Graeme
The Impresa media group had a good year in 2019, enjoying soaring profits only dented in 2020 by a fall-off in advertising caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The overall revenues of the group which owns the country’s most prestigious weekend broadsheet, Expresso and the TV station SIC, climbed 5.6% to €181.9 million which were boosted by audience share results which threw its rival independent TV station TVI off the top ranking in terms of viewers.
In fact, the media empire founded by a founding member of the Partido Social Democrata (PSD) — one of two political parties in Portugal that have generally held power, along with the Partido Socialista (PS), since the Carnation Revolution in April 1974 – and one-time prime minister, Francisco Pinto Balsemão, saw its profits on 2018 increase by 150%.
2019 was also the year in which for the first time in 15 years it returned to the top of the audience ranking with the TVI station at Paço de Arcos in Oeiras Valley enjoying a 19.5% share.
The results were the fruit of good quality and entertaining programmes, which included talk shows ‘O Programma da Cristina’ and ‘Olhó Baião’ and several successful soap operas at prime time viewing like ‘Nazaré’ and Alma e Coração’ (Heart and Soul), as well as the amusing ‘Quem Quer Namorar com o Agricultor’ (Who Wants to Date a Farmer).
Oeiras – a technological ecosystem that delivers
Impresa board member Cristina Vaz Tomé says Oeiras is a borough that combines several characteristics which have propelled it to one of the most important municipalities in terms of projection in Portugal, particularly regarding the profile of the highly educated and often affluent people who live and work there, and the high tech companies, all of which provide an excellent business ecosystem and lifestyle quality.
“As the most relevant media group in Portugal, with two flagship brands, SIC and Expresso, the conditions provided by the borough mean we’re in a comfortable situation in terms of road and rail access, with an ease of mobility and circulation which is vital when you have reporters coming and going at all times of the day,” says the group’s chief revenue officer.
The only woman on the board points to all the technology companies in Oeiras Valley within an ecosystem which is vital for Impresa’s technologically and digitally based business. Companies that are all “cutting edge and easily fulfil our requirements as a broadcaster” and which has to constantly innovate and work with different delivery platforms.
OPTO – an innovative streaming service
Being surrounded by high-tech companies specialising in state-of-the-art digital and internet technology has been vital for Impresa which has recently launched a streaming service bringing together the best in entertainment and news – OPTO SIC.
Launched in November 2020, it promises to revolutionise the media landscape in Portugal, with a new way of accessing the best audiovisual content, and was announced on the same day that the TV station celebrated its 28th anniversary.
“SIC was born a market leader. A leader in independence, non-conformism, inspiration and now we’ve gone a step further on our path to providing innovative and original content delivered in an entirely new way in Portugal with this new platform which will revolutionise the media panorama in this country,” says Cristina Vaz Tomé echoing the words of CEO Francisco Pedro Balsemão.
“Digital is already having a very important impact on our activity, and being in a municipality which has the infrastructure and conditions to attract Grade A technology companies is very good for us, so I think Oeiras Valley has all these characteristics which is extremely relevant and leads us to conclude that we’re in the right place in Portugal,” says the Impresa executive board member.
The Impresa director also says that in future Impresa will be collaborating more closely with Oeiras Municipal Council in terms of legislative changes affecting the launch of TV competitions, the remit for which has now passed from the Ministry of Internal Administration to the control of the municipal councils. “This means we will have a closer and more integrated working relationship with the council concerning our activity”.
Finally, Impresa is in contact with council officers regarding synergies from a communication standpoint when the council needs to communicate news about one of its programmes or activities, or those linked to companies within the borough operating in areas of tourism, agriculture or gastronomy, so the idea is to work together with Oeiras Council in promoting these activities, and thereby promoting Oeiras Valley as a whole.