Wednesday, March 20, 2013

French regional newspapers. The vanishing ads

The last Pew report stresses the crisis of the American newspapers, devastated by the steady fall of advertising. It is the same story in France. In 2012, the regional press lost 60 millions euros from 2011, i.e. 6%. The global advertising market fared much better, thanks to TV and digital supports that kept growing.

Between 2007 and 2012, the downward trend of the press contrasted with the growth of the global market so that its share of the advertising market fell from 40 to 30% as the share of TV went up by 5 points. so the net loss of the press in 5 years is 1.6 billions euros. It explains why newspapers and magazines never stopped downsizing during that period;

As far as regional dailies are concerned, their main worry is the loss of classified ads moving massively to the web. Between 2007 and 2012, classified ads income went down by 31% as compared to local advertising -17% and national advertising -16%.

What hope is there with advertising on the local press websites? Things improve but very slowly. In 2012, local ads on the web made only, 55 millions euros and 7% of the regional newspapers  advertising income. It is 20% more than the year before but not enough to make for the global loss of revenue. National ads on the web are not so dynamic. Last year, they grew by1.6%.

The global growth of income was then 9 millions euros as compared to a loss of 69 millions in print ads.

In the long term, a balance between the print and the web will be found but it will take many years and don't forget that collecting news is a costly job.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Some news from the American media

The annual reports of the Pew research center on the media is a landmark for all media experts. It gives an exhaustive account of the health of the American media. It is also a useful reminder for the Europeans who are aware that what happens in the US will soon cross the Atlantic;

The Pew states that the American public is still very interested by the news. However, 50% of the population use digital media to get informed. This way, they have access to all media which are delivered in a way or another through the Web. But, and it is a big but, the offer is not so great. Due to economic problems the journalist population is schrincking. In 2013, the newspapers employ 40000 people which is the same level as 1978 and it keeprs going down.

 Local television, an important media in the US is following the same way. It devotes 40% of its space to traffic, weather and sports. Politics and government are limited to 3%. It is obvious that investigative journalism is stalled thanks to a lack of  money and human means. Local reporting suffers as much as national or foreign news.

To face a dramatic financial crisis due to the fall of advertising, the newspapers develop paying services. Out of 1380 American newspapers, 450 have adopted the paying wall and more will do the same this year.

Cable news channels are fairly successfull but they are more and more partisan to reach a public which wishes to be comforted in its opinions. There again, investigative journalism has not a great future.

What can be done to stop this process which is also apparent this side of the Atlantic? I'll go back to it in another blog.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The worth of newspapers

One of the major upheavals in the press industry has been the abysmal fall of the value of newspapers. In the US where the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune are on sale, their value has gone down by 90% in ten years. None of them is worth more than 100 millions dollars as compared to a billion in the late nineties.

It is of course the same in France. If the group Sud Ouest which is badly in need of cash sells the Midi Libre, it can hardly expect more than 30 millions. Not enough to satisfy the banks, CIC and BNP Paribas, who are the main creditors of the fledgling enterprise. And the Lemoine family and its 30 members would have a lot of trouble to sell the whole group Sud Ouest. Not only its value would be very low, probably inferior to 100 millions, but there is no obvious buyer. The French press groups are too much in trouble to move and no foreigner is much interested by the troubled French landscape.

Magazines and notably newsmagazines do not fare any better. If Rick de Nolf wants to sell l'Express or François Pinault tries to get rid of le Point, they cannot expect any bonus. Potential buyers are rare and tight on money. And yet, it is obvious that the newsmagazines are too many to survive the Internet revolution. Wait a bit. More change is coming.