Thursday, November 24, 2011

The non concentration of the media

The collapse of the remaining part of groupe Hersant is a useful reminder of the weaknesses of French media groups. 20 years ago Lagardère and Hersant were still dominating the media scene and TF1 was supposed to become an European leader in the field of television. Later on Jean Marie Colombani decided to build a powerful group around its flagship newspaper le Monde.

In 2011 the landscape is very different. Hersant group has been split several times. Le Figaro and its magazines belongs to Dassault, until the death of the old man who is 86. the regional dailies have been shared between Rossel, Ouest France and Credit Mutuel. Groupe Hersant Media, the remaining part of the Empire has already lost Its free sheets branch Comareg which filed bankrupcy. The other dailies are on sale with the banks and Rossel arguing about who pays what. Its the end of the debt ridden group Hersant.

Le Monde has given up the imperial dreams of Minc and Colombani. Its only valuable asset now is Telerama which shall be sold one day.
TF1 has not fulfilled the hopes of its former chairman Patrick Le Lay and remains stubbornly inside the French borders. Its too late now to grow outside. Once again, the Germans Springer and Bertelsmann have bought the leadership in Europe and even in France where Bertelsmann owns RTL, M6 and Prisma Press.

As for Lagardere, nobody can figure out the strategy of Arnaud, the son of Jean Luc. He is selling most of his magazines and loses money in the sports field. Lagardere is not a world leader any more.

If you look at the American scene, you realize that the newcomers don't look anymore like the old media powers. In fact, one doesn't know any more what media means. Is Facebook a media? What is the real influenc of Google? It will take years to sort out the disturbed media scene but one thing is sure, the French will be in the back seat.