Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What about le Monde?

The Summer was not peaceful for le Monde. The newspaper published a controversial fiction about a financial crisis in 2012. This story was written by an ex journalist from the economic daily la Tribune. It raised strong protests from the "Société des rédacteurs du Monde" (SRM) who considered rightly that the text should have been checked by the competent journalists of the newspaper economic staff. Moreover, the Credit Agricole complained publicly that this paper had treated it very badly, suggesting that it could be bankrupt next year. Of course, it was pure fiction as the editor in chief answered the various complaints but can one play with quoted corporations and the stock exchange ? The impact on a very volatile market was obvious.

It appears that the new organization of the newsroom is far from satisfying The influence of Mathieu Pigasse, one of the owners or Bernard Henri Lévy, member of the board is significant. It could lead to new conflicts before the end of the year.

On August, too, the two printers unions delivered their message: its no to the printing of the daily by the regional newspapers which are more than willing to take in charge the printing and the sales of le Monde out of Paris. This cost saving process seems to be in trouble and yet, there is no other solution for Louis Dreyfus, the publisher. We can expect some strikes on September.

Another big question remains: who is the real boss of le Monde? Is Xavier Niel, the telecom tycoon ready to move to the front and put more money?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

television is the future

A big question: in a climate of major financial crisis, what media will suffer most, which ones will keep growing?
If you look at the ad figures for the first months of 2011, the answer is obvious. Television is the great winner. Newspapers are in very bad shape.

In the US, the Washington Post, for the second quarter, had 12% less in advertising income for print and 16% less on its websites. The only very profitable part of the group was its television network.

Same thing for the New York Times, 6.4% less for ads on print and only plus 2.6 for Internet.

For the same period, the television networks registered a healthy growth of their adsales; (see the analysis of the advertising market in

In France, the situation is similar. The two main private broadcasters, TF1 and M6 had a good first two quarters. The national and regional newspapers suffered badly from a sluggish market. Most of them will be in the red at the end of the year.

Why is television so successful with the advertisers? There are several reasons: television has still a very large audience in spite of Internet or, sometimes, thanks to Internet that provides another access to the programs. Moreover, it is considered as a "safe" media, whose public is well known and measured, contrary to the print. After all, advertisers have used it for 60 years.

These figures are very promising for Vincent Bolloré. He owns two TV channels broadcast on TNT wich are designed to be highly profitable and his free sheets will soon dominate the print market. With the help of Havas, his advertising agency, he is about to be a major player on the media market.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

the news and technical challenges

Things are moving very quickly in the field of communication technology. Take for instance the incredible growth of smartphones. To day 65% of the uses of the Web are still made from computers. In 2015, it will go down to 46% and mobile devices will provide 54%. In 2009, video amounted to 30% of the broadband services. By the end of 2011, it will be 55%.

Another interesting figure, on July, the New York Times announced that their paying service that started on february had already collected 280 000 subscribed, an unexpected success.

What does all that mean to the news executives? First, they must pay more and more attention to mobile supports. Then, they have to aknowledge the fact that with the increase of the videos traffic, the telecom companies will ask a bigger financial contribution from the users, to avoid a bottleneck. However, the success of paywalls of the New York Times and the New Yorker shows that good texts can be as attractive as mediocre videos. A food for thought for a daily like le Monde.