Friday, November 22, 2013

the fatal decline of the newsmagazines

The loyal readers of my blog know it. I have warned a long time ago about the decline of the newsmagazines. When you consider that in the US, only one, the Time, managed to survive while this kind of publication doesn't exist in the UK and the German Der Spiegel is suffering badly, you realize that France cannot feed with advertising and sales four news. Things are going to change and very soon.

Yves de Chaisemartin, the courageous owner of Marianne agrees that it will be a uphill battle to save Marianne, the weakest of the gang of four. And a merger of le Point and l'Express is bound to happen sooner rather than later.

One can accuse the shrinking advertising market and the fact that there are less and less newspapers stands in the French big cities which means that the average customer is less tempted to buy press products whose offer is rarefied.

Still the main factor is very simple: newsmagazines are desperately old fashioned. They thrived in the 20th century, thanks to a massive urbanization  in Europe and the USA when print paper was the easiest access to in depth news. They collapse now in the new digital age when the public can get every kind of information through his computer or mobile devices. A week is too long a delay when important affairs pop up every day on the many screens that surround us. Websites, whether they are pure players or connected to a daily, are more efficient, more user friendly.

Moreover, daily newspapers are transforming themselves to keep their readership. They deliver hot news, daily news and more in depth reporting, using both the print and the Web. Their large newsrooms are more reactive and efficient than the smaller teams of the weeklies that are used to a more relaxed way of life.

Information is a lively process. New breeds replace existing products that have outlived their usefulness.