New stage in Barlavento’s nearly 50-year-old history
Barlavento, the Resident’s Portuguese-language sister publication, has become an online-only newspaper.
The decision had been made since the first third of last year but only took effect in 2024, explains Barlavento editor Bruno Filipe Pires.
Several reasons have been highlighted, from the publication’s financial sustainability to its goals to be in line with the current trend of decarbonisation and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the current speed of information circulation.
“Our online readership has been growing since 2015, with a significant peak during the pandemic, despite our small size. That’s why it was very challenging to manage both a paper edition and a website simultaneously. The truth is that paper was the priority until now, limiting our online growth. Therefore, it was inevitable after 48 years of publishing a print edition, to change the newspaper’s paradigm,” Bruno Filipe Pires said.
The “reduction of newsstands”, as well as “postal delivery instability, the “significant increase in costs related to newsstand distribution”, and “changes in consumption and information production habits” also played into the decision.
However, Barlavento may still release some “special editions” or even come out in a new magazine format, the editor says.
The focus now, however, is on the new website, which has been under development since June 2023 by Alencastre/Brandability, a digital marketing and e-commerce agency founded in 2001, which has several major national brands in its portfolio and has been part of the international Share IT group since 2022. The planned launch date is January 3, 2024, and it will use the newspaper’s own domain (barlavento.pt).
“The main objective is to provide a good user experience for present and future readers. It will have a simple but modern and efficient layout and will include all the latest upgrades, plug-ins, and metrics available for the media industry,” said Bruno Filipe Pires.
Barlavento also signed a contract with the national news agency Lusa which “puts us on par with our peers in terms of news,” while other new multimedia content is also planned, such as podcasts.
Currently, Barlavento already sends out a weekly newsletter to more than 2,500 recipients and will upgrade this free service to allow more readers to subscribe and opt-in, as well as integrate other customer databases and readers from other publications in the Open Media group.
“To be honest, stopping the print edition of a publication is not new in the Algarve, and even less so nationally,” said the editor, recognising however that such a decision always “evokes mixed feelings.
“We know that we have much to do and even more to learn with this exclusive leap into the highly competitive and saturated digital world. Another challenge will be managing human resources to keep the newspaper constantly updated. I believe that Barlavento has come this far, overcoming numerous problems and obstacles throughout its history, some almost insurmountable and quite complex. With dedication, effort, and the team’s spirit of sacrifice, and a different approach to current events, it may have a new future and, above all, continuity,” he added.
“For the record, and as sincerely as we can express it, we want to thank everyone who has been here and contributed to Barlavento’s journey. We want to especially thank our readers, clients, and all advertisers who supported us until now. We hope to count on you again in this next stage. We wish you Happy Holidays and a great start to 2024. Our sincere thanks, and see you soon”.