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Le Parisien announces €30 million restructure

Le Parisien announces €30 million restructure

Inclusion in ePresse, the new digital kiosk for French publishers, is not the only change on the horizon for Le Parisien. In light of recent figures of circulation decline, the French regional publication is restructuring its approach to print and diversifying alongside it.

Last Friday, the Amaury Group (owner of Le Parisien) announced it would be investing 30 million euros into the paper. The paper will unveil its redesigned format in 2012, which will be more colorful and with enhanced sections. In addition to the new format, Le Monde

reported that the newspaper would launch a weekly lifestyle magazine next year. In test editions, it included articles on events, do-it-yourself projects, gardening, and education.

Online, the popular publication has struggled to adapt to paid content. In terms of readership, Le Parisien is one of the top French sources for news. According to OJD, it is the number one regional news website in France with 22.1 million unique users last April. However, it has been forced to modify its approach to paid content since the launch of a full paywall in 2005. In 2007, the paywall was scaled back to a mixed model, and most content is now free.

The Amaury Group did not discuss paid content strategies, but it did acknowledge that Le Parisien will continue expanding digitally. A more interactive iPad app is expected to launch next January, and the publication plans to open a multimedia desk. In the Apple Store, the current app has been criticized for the cost (readers are charged .79 euro cents per daily paper). Readers that can access virtually all of the paper for free online are unlikely to subscribe if the new app maintains the same price structure.

Following in the footsteps of other papers that have diversified, Le Parisien announced that it would also be offering a range of services. Other newspapers have expanded their brand to supplement flagging advertising revenue, and this move, which is the main component of the restructure, could be a crucial stream of revenue for the publication. The services, undefined at the moment, will cater to e-commerce and group purchases. Acquisition of websites will be another important element of the new strategy.

Le Parisien will also eliminate 40 to 50 jobs, initially based on voluntary departures. The jobs affected are primarily non-journalistic, although they will eliminate department heads, sub-editors, and photographers. Amaury Group estimates that the cost reductions will allow about 6 million in savings.

Restructuring and eliminating jobs is often an indication of troubles for a paper. This may be true for Le Parisien, but according to The Guardian, regional press on the whole is faring better in France than in the UK. The regional paper Ouest France holds the largest daily circulation in France (800,000 compared to 300,000 for Le Figaro, the largest national paper), while regional press has been hit harder than national press in the UK.

Whether the move will bring Le Parisien the revenue it seeks remains to be seen, but it is in line with industry-wide trends. For the moment, expanding Le Parisien's brand and incorporating multimedia into the digital strategy are important steps to modernize the paper.

Sources: Le Monde, OJD, Inovia Conseil, The Guardian


Florence Pichon


2011-07-11 16:51

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