Thursday, March 24, 2011

the new advertising landscape

The advertising figures released in France and in the US show very clearly the new trends in the economy of the media.
According to IREP, 2010 was a good year for the French media. Television income increased by 11%. Internet display rose by 12%. However, things are not so good for the press whose advertising income decreased by 1.6. The magazines fared quite well (+4.7) but the national dailies made a modest increase of 2.3 and the regional newspapers lost 2.2. If you add up the bad results of the free sheets and the local weeklies, you realize that the print industry is lagging behind television and Internet and this trend continues in 2011.
In the States, the same process is at work. Television and specially, local television had a very good year with an increase of about 10%. the same with Internet which is soon to be the second advertising media in the country. Figures are very bad for the daily newspapers (-8.2) in spite of a raise of 10% for the press websites. According to the specialists, 2010 was the worst year for the dailies in 25 years.
My opinion is that the daily press can survive only if it plays well with the Web and the print. There is still a strong need for a good daily information.
A species in danger is the newsmagazine. The fall of Newsweek in the US, delivers a strong signal. It is practically impossible to provide interesting or exciting news on a weekly basis. If you pick up the right websites, you get what you need at any moment. Speaking of France, I don't believe that four newsmagazines can live on a narrowing market.
All that means that new upheavals are to be foreseen in the near future.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The challenge of current news

For the first time, major events occur in the world at a time when a great part of the world population is connected to the Web and its social networks through computers and mobiles, smartphones and tablets. The last great upheaval that happened in 1989 seems ages away. At that time, people got mainly informed through television, newspapers and newsmagazines. Today, they follow the Arab revolts and the cataclysm in Japan with information websites, Twitter, Facebook and various text and video applications on their smartphones.
When I open my newspaper, I find that there is very little I want to read. I skip the pages that deal with the current news on Japan end Lybia. I know already what is in it. Of course, dailies and newsmagazines try to go further and explain more thoroughly what is happening and how people feel. However, their long papers seem already bypassed by the current news that jump on the screen of my I Pad and video sequences provided by all news channels are much more explicit than a written explanation.
What I believe is that this new way of beeing informed means the end of the newsmagazines and daily publications. Journalists and publishers must think hard how to keep people informed and interested in times of emergency. I will go back to this all important topic, very soon.

Le Monde, another story

Le Monde is facing a new stage of its long story as its managers have, at last, to solve the tricky problem of its printing. The present unit is obsolete and overstaffed. Ideally, it should be closed down and the newspaper could be printed anywhere. Le Figaro with its brand new printing unit at Le Tremblay is willing to do the job. Moreover, regional newspapers have large capacities to print the copies on sale in the provinces.
Still Louis Dreyfus, le Monde's CEO and his team must make tough choices: how to negociate with the Unions the exit of 150 or more workers, how to strike a deal with the regional newspapers for the printing and delivery of the daily and, last but not least, whether to transfer from afternoon to morning newspaper.
If le Monde remains published at midday, its printing elsewhere will be easy. All printing units in Paris and the provinces have huge capacities which are unemployed in the morning. However, the delivery in the afternoon to the provincial readers will be quite expensive as it will be necessary to build up a new organization. If Le Monde becomes a morning daily, its delivery will be much easier as it can join the circuits of the regional press but it will be difficult to find a place in the night planning of the printers. Whatever the solution, the new management of le Monde must make tough decisions before June, the deadline fixed by the government.