Published on February 4, 2014
Carlo Donzella A 'Digital Kitchen' for the Mediterranean: what role for Malta? A SWOT analysis by a knowledgeable outsider
MY PERSONAL CASE After 4 years in Brussels and 10 years in UK, in 2008, following Malta‟s adoption of Euro, I elected Malta to be the base of my European activities as an entrepreneur in digital business and technologies. Although most of my business was done « on the continent », I deem I earned a qualification as a « knowledgeable outsider » and I would share with you my personal perception about the perspective of Malta in the digital business.
PART 1 The Global Scenario: the End of the World as We Know It
Facts and figures: what are we talking about? • the « Digital » sector is not homogeneously defined by different market researchers (Digital Media vs Digital Content vs Digital Entertainment vs Digital Creative Industries vs…) • according to P&W, the global value of the media and entertainments sectors (traditional and digital) was estimated at $1.6 trillion in 2012 • global entertainment & media market as a whole, including both consumer and advertising spending, will grow to $2.2 trillion in 2017 • the digital share of it is constantly growing, from 21% in 2008 to 33% in 2012 and projected to reach 47% in US by 2017
Global trends • convergence of technologies and applications on DIGITAL platforms BUT • divergence of revenue and business models aimed at exploiting the DIGITAL opportunity …traditional, long-established revenue models in segments such as TV and magazines will be replaced by more targeted and tailored models that will differ widely within and across segments and geographies… Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Entertainment & Media Outlook
The digital „seismic shift‟ • convergence of technologies and applications (increasingly extending towords mobile, weareable ones as the ultimate “everyday life-glue”) on DIGITAL PLATFORMS BUT • divergence of revenue and business models aimed at exploiting the DIGITAL opportunity based on increasing fragmentation and diversities of geographies, cultures, languages, communities...
The business challenges of Digital Revolution • Fragmentations of all value chain communities (producers, distributors, consumers…) • Technical, creative and entrepreneurial multidisciplinarity a must • Traditional economic, financial and business models outdated • New values and motivations guiding all actors in the value chain (open content, social innovation, etc…) • Deep transformation of Intellectual Property • Morphing of Consumer into Interactive User
PART 2 Enter Malta: Which role can it play in the hypercompetitive Digital World?
Malta as a model for the founding of Singapore « Our objective is not territory but trade, a great commercial emporium and a fulcrum... a free port; what Malta is in the West, that may Singapore become in the East! » Sir John Raffles, 1819 Quoted from Raffles‟ diary in « The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company » by John Keay, Harper Collins, 1991
Is this two-century old statement still valid? OF COURSE IT IS! • MALTA‟S STRENGTH still is « not territory but trade » • ITS VOCATION still is to be « a commercial emporium; a fulcrum; a free port » • IN CONTEMPORARY TERMS, it should strive to be « a digital hub »
My SWOT analysis Let‟s do the tour of the island in 20 SWOT items with this principle as our guide… CAVEAT: diverse because with a wider scope, but compatible with the Gaming SWOT of Boo-Games
Strengths: SOMETIMES SMALL IS BEUTIFUL Known, reputed, versatile, cost-effective location for audiovisual shooting • “Pilot island”: ideal size for fully-fledged pilots in deployment of digital solutions (eg Vodafone case in 90s) • EU-integrated, English-speaking, (e-)business friendly legislation in Schengen Eurozone • ICT-educated, multilingual, hard-working, productive, cost-effective workforce • E-gaming; 420 licences, 7,000 employes, 11% of Maltese GDP: 10% of world services for the e-gaming •
Weaknesses: SOMETIMES IT IS NOT… • Unattractive size of local market (apart for pilots) • Lack of scale for large projects, plans, funds • Lack of local entrepreneurship and private capital in the sector • Lack of ability in attracting foreign talents and investors (beyond e-gaming) • Lack of global visibility, no branding of Malta as a digital hub
Threats: 'ME, TOO!' APPROACH NO GOOD • Digital Gaming Strategy developing as an unfocused, underfinanced, overambitious project • Lack of understanding of the future digital scenarios by policy makers • Widening of „cultural divide‟ between e-gaming and digital gaming communities • Marginalization as one of many “near-shoring” locations competing on cheap labour in ICT-related services • Increase of local brain drain, especially for top creative and technical talents
Opportunities: ATTRACTION IS TRACTION • Coordinate a round-the-year calendar of internationally attractive activities, incl. a flagship event for digital branding • Support and build around the burgeoning grassroot community of the “Malta Digital Nomads” • Attract the best international talents and investors on the basis of selected 'investment-ready' projects • Favour synergies between e-gaming and digital gaming communities (and other niches) through common challenges • Support the creation of a Mediterranean-centered Digital Marketplace through appropriate online platforms
Interview to Joe Cuschieri, new head of LGA « ...we need to widen the scope of gaming. There is a big untapped market for digital games of skill that you play online with other players or against the computer, and social media apps like board games. It is a multibillion dollar industry... 80 per cent of gaming is not gambling but social and skill games. » Future-proofing Malta's gaming sector, January 13, 2014 http://www.csbgroup.com/malta-news/igaming/futureproofing-gaming-sector-licence-services
A TELLING ECONOMIC COMPARISON GERMANY (largest EU economy) Population: 80M Key sector: Automotive (largest world exporter, 90% world premium market) Automotive industry contribution to GDP: 13% Employees in Automotive industry: 800,000 (1% of population) MALTA (smallest EU economy) Population: 0.4M Key sector: Gaming (10% world services) Gaming sector contribution to GDP: 11% Employees in Gaming sector : 7,000 (1.75% of population)
IN THE DIGITAL WORLD, LANDMASS DOES NOT COUNT…. • Digital is more than Gaming, eGaming, Gambling… • Digital is more than Digital Media… • …just consider Digital or Virtual Coins, of which Bitcoin is the most known example • how many people know that Malta is the home of the first worldwide Bitcoin-denominated fund?
CONCLUSION: MALTA NEEDS A DIGITAL STRATEGY, NOT A MERE DIGITAL AGENDA Lead, don‟t follow! Disrupt, don‟t be disrupted!
THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION Contact or follow me at: • E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org • Skype: carlo.donzella • http://twitter.com/nerissimo • http://mt.linkedin.com/pub/carlo-donzella/0/292/154
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