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The blog

Francisco Pedro Balsemão, CEO of Impresa, Portugal’s biggest media company, will be one of the View from the Top panel participants closing out the FIPP World Media Congress in Cascais, Portugal, on 9 June. He joins NatGeo’s Yulia Boyle, Hearst’s Jonny Wright, and PPA’s Sajeeda Merali on the panel.

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FIPP’s Ashley Norris spoke to Francisco ahead of Congress. They discussed Expresso, Impresa’s flagship brand, their new streaming service, other opportunities on the horizon, and revenue diversification.

They also touched on a debilitating cyber-attack on Impresa, a first of its kind in Portugal.

Destruction for destruction’s sake

“On the second and third of January, for two days in a row, we were subjected to a very vicious and devastating cyber-attack. The attackers didn’t ask for a ransom, so it wasn’t a typical ransomware attack.”

“What we’ve learned from the authorities is that it was the first time that in Portugal that this sort of attack has happened. It was then replicated with Vodafone Portugal a couple of weeks after. What happened was that they destroyed our infrastructure, our systems and some of our content. But fortunately, our archives weren’t affected.

“It was pure evil, destruction for destruction’s sake. We are still recovering from it. Our websites were offline for two days, then we managed to put some temporary sites back up and then get back to normal.”

“The teams were absolutely amazing with people working 24/7. Not just the tech teams, but newsroom staff and external people too. The support we received was incredible. It was very moving to see that people were actually with us. We received dozens of text messages and phone calls from everywhere – from advertisers, agencies, politicians and more.”

Lessons learnt

“After an event like this you learn many lessons. Communication is key, but obviously, you need to have procedures and policies to prevent this, and then if it happens, efficient disaster recovery systems. You have to have this very straight connection with the cyber security authorities.”

“Maleficent actors out there want to show off their skills in this arena, and the media is always going to be attacked as it is high profile.”

Read the full interview here.

Other speaker interviews

With more than 65 top speakers now confirmed, Congress will bring breadth and depths of views from markets worldwide. Here are a few more interviews to help you see what you will get at FIPP’s flagship international event.

There is more Congress news here.