Perhaps EPIQ's report earlier this year that the French press was doing well wasn't so far off after all. Le Figaro announced on its website that it was the top daily in France for the January to March period of this year, and that numbers had gone up from the same period in 2010.
The figures come from l'OJD, an association responsible for gathering the numbers of newspaper sales for governmental information and advertising purposes. This year marks the first time the organization has included digital media in its figures. Most notably, this includes PDF formats, such as the ones that appear on tablet devices.
OJD's president Stéphane Bodier justified the addition, saying, "Finally, we have a realistic picture of media consumption in France. Circulation isn't only print media; it's also, more and more, digital media." Indeed, studies have shown that the French have more contact with digital sources than ever before.
The new figures reflected these studies. Le Figaro has sold 333,674 copies in the first trimester, a growth of 0.8 percent compared to 2010 figures. Le Monde is up 2.19 percent with 296,166 copies sold. Unlike the top two, Le Parisien saw a 5.05 percent decrease with 293,133 copies sold. L'Équipe also saw a decrease of 3.86 percent with 268,776 copies sold.
Dailies like Le Monde and Les Echos benefited from the addition of the digital aspect, reported Com' 1 Blog. Both papers were among the first publications to make a major push to the digital realm. Les Echos went up 3.23 percent compared to 2010 figures. OJD general director Patrick Bartement said, "We're seeing that two worlds have emerged: the press titles that have a digital existence and those who don't or haven't yet established one."
Le Figaro has also made a huge push towards digital. CEO Marc Feuillée reported that 20 percent of the group's revenue came from digital media, according to Challenges.fr. This accounts for 17 percent of its profits. Last year, digital accounted for 17 percent of revenue and only 4 percent of profits. He predicted by the end of 2011 that those numbers would further augment to 23 percent of the group's revenue and 30 percent of its profits.
The group's plans for the future include mixing its print and digital newsrooms, blending the two together. New projects will include a website devoted to golf, one for health, and one for the Exchange and heritage. Even more projects are in the works.
Feuillée plans to keep Le Figaro at the top. As he said to his employees, "We must adopt a culture of results."