Wednesday, April 17, 2013

french press less subsidies

The ailing French press will get less and less public subsidies. Up to now, government aids amounted to 10% of the budget of newspapers and magazines. However, the French administration is broke and a major upheaval of the cosy system enjoyed by the press since 1945 is about to happen.

It is likely that newspapers and newsmagazines will keep a lower VAT and some help to home delivery but the other publications will have to face a sharp rise in postal rates due to the massive reduction of Post office subsidies. Groups like Mondadori, Prisma or Bayard will suffer more than le Monde or le Figaro.

Still, the government faces drastic choices for the future. The French delivery system is in shambles. According to some experts its reorganization could cost up to 250 millions euros while nobody, neither the publishers or the state is willing or able to pay. A massive transfer from postal service and Presstalis to home delivery managed by the regional newspapers networks implies a costly reorganization. And internet services are thriving on fixed and mobile supports.

A big question looms above everything else: is the media industry too complicated to be managed by the not very competent government?Most European countries say yes.