Thursday, January 12, 2017

French national and local press in decline

Like many other countries France too is witnessing a decline in circulation of both its national and regional newspapers - for many of the same reasons and some that are special to France.

One of the peculiarities of the French press is that there is no single, dominant national newspaper - even the best known Le Figaro and Le Monde plus the daily sports paper L'Equipe above 300,000, and Libération trails behind with just over 100,000 copies daily.

Another anomaly is that some of the major regional dailies have large circulations - La Voix de Nord (Nord, Pas de Calais); Sud-Ouest (Charentes, Dordogne etc) - for example have circulations over 1 million. In my own region L'Indépendant (Aude, P;O.) has a typically average circulation of less than 250,000.

These regional dailies have managed to hang on thanks to an elderly, conservative readership, and/or by championing local causes such as the shutdown of an important factory or industry.

Competition of course has come from the usual sources - radio (40+ radio stations), television (100+ channels plus cable and satellite services. And more recently online internet versions - perfectly adequate for a rapid overview, followed by the new generation of smartphones which can be read on the way to or from work on the Metro or the London Underground, where any photo will show nine out of ten computers glued to their smartphones.......

The print media had lost much of their advertising revenue to TV and online services, where advertising can be created that is noisier, flashier and subject to rapid change. There may be a glimmer of rejection as the younger generations grow up and start to question the relevance of a consumerist society in favour of a gentler, more caring model.

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