Monday, October 5, 2015
Regional newspapers the fall season
Last week, minority shareholders of the regional daily NRCO based in the center of France announced they were willing to sell 25% of the daily's capital. Press observers wondered aloud who would be foolish enough to buy.
Many newspapers are or could be on sale. It is the case of Sud Ouest, number 2 of the regional press whose owners are trying to find a way out without losing too much. Sud Ouest group was valued 300 millions euros, 10 years ago. Now it would be around 60 millions.
Nice Matin, the once prosperous Riviera daily is deep into financial trouble. It is owned presently by its employees but it is obvious they will have to rely very soon on a local investor.
On the eastern part of France the many dailies belong to a bank, Crédit Mutuel. Their circulation is droping fast and they move deep in the red. The aging chairman of the bank, Michel Lucas or his successor will have to sell soon but, once again, who could buy?
One group seems to be willing to reorganize this devastated field, it is the Belgian Rossel which owns already Voix du Nord and several publications in the East of France. It has however to find a proper financing not only to buy in but also to buy out the redundant employees, mostly printers who are less and less necessary in the digital age.
As I have explained many times in this blog, US local press does not offer a remedy to the decline of the regional dailies. On the other side of the Atlantic, things don't go well. One has to think very thoroughly about what users consider is valuable in local news.