Thursday, January 10, 2013

News on Le MONDE

The famous newspaper is starting 2013 with many questions and few answers. It has to find a new editor in chief to replace Erik Izraelewicz whose sudden death was a big shock for the newsroom. It is likely that his successor will be an insider, coming from the staff of the daily. No name is emrging yet.

Louis Dreyfus, the talented CEO will also have to cope with a sharp increase of the price that went up on January 1st by 12%, from 1.60 to 1.80 euros. According to Dreyfus, some members of the board would have been willing to raise the price to 2 euros, following the exemple of the N Y Times which is selling now at 2.50 dollars. It is obvious that to stop the fall of the sales it will be necessary to boost the number of subscribers. It is a top challenge for the sales management of the daily. They will have to be more efficient and follow the model of their sister company Telerama.

The last challenge is the digital policy. To make for the loss of circulation and the dark outcome in advertising; the digital branch must be more and more profitable. It is not so easy. Le Monde must cut drastically the free offer of its website to  attract a new population of subscribers. It aims to move from 45000 presently to 100 000 which would bring a welcome bonanza to the income of the daily. However, it will take a long time, maybe 10 years before le Monde digital can finance a 300 editing staff.

It is also obvious that the fate of Presstalis, which is slowly collapsing, will be of the utmost importance. Le Monde could easily be delivered by the powerful network of regional newspapers. It would be cheaper and more efficient, expecially if the daily becomes a morning newspaper. There again, one will have to wait for the death of the ailing system and a workable solution for its 2000 employees.