The French government is considering subsidies for France's number one press distribution company Presstalis, Le Figaro reports.
French Prime Minister François Fillon has assigned the delicate task to Inspector-General of Finances Bruno Mettling. He will consider the conditions under which exceptional state support could be granted.
The distribution company is in serious financial difficulty. This is partly due to the overheads for distribution of the national daily press, which has been structurally in deficit for several years, and partly because of the decline in newspaper sales. The group lost around €15 million in 2009.
Mettling is familiar with the topic and has previously been involved in considering government subsidies for the French press. He is also to determine the ways that different stakeholders will be involved in the subsidy. For example, he will look at an eventual rise in revenue for the distribution company from higher fees paid by newspapers.
French newspapers and news websites are heavily subsidised by the government. The prospect of a subsidy for Presstalis, though not exactly an indicator of industry health, at least does not raise the traditional concerns of government influence on editorial.
Source: Le Figaro