Friday, December 21, 2012

Tapie and the future of French press

The victory of Tapie was not a total surprise. The man is tenacious and the deal he proposed to Hersant was highly profitable for Herant family since it will save a part of their assets. The banks will lose 160 millions euros but they could offer no credible solution. Group Rossel, the other alternative had limited resources and was afraid of having to pay for the sequences of Comareg bankrupcy.

This unpleasant solution bodes badly for the future of French press. In a few months Sud Ouest will have to face a harsh reality: huge debts and no cash. There again, the banks led by CIC will have to find a solution and nobody will come to the rescue of the ailing press group whose owners will have to sell, if they find a buyier.

Lets not forget the dramatic situation of Presstalis. The unions will not be able to stop the fall of what was a powerful press delivery system and is vanishing from the media landscape.

If I was to gamble on the future, I would edge my bets on three dailies, le Figaro, le Monde and les Echos. All three of them are moving in the right direction: cutting on printing costs and investing on Internet. Still, they are expensive for the average reader and they provide much less paper than their European counterparts. Does it mean that French journalists must work harder to save the day?