Collapse of advertising, alienation of readers, difficulty finding a model on the Internet... 2009 was a terrible newspaper year and 2010 begins little better. Director of the World Editors Forum, the global association of editors, Bertrand Pecquerie refused to bury the written press. It puts forward the experience of titles which go to the conquest of the drive on the Internet... and paper.
The "old media" still has a future digital media
The apocalyptic discourse on the end of the written press is very fashionable. And it is true that the figures are of concern: between the advertising shock to the economic crisis and the shock of the digital revolution that is less than 30 years to abandon the paper for the Internet, we are in a crisis of unprecedented scissors. In 2 decades, the press will be known 3 major advertising crises: in 1993-1994 with the first Gulf war, in 2001 after the bursting of the dot-com bubble, and since the end of 2008 with the financial crisis. Each time, there was a stall of the advertising revenue of 20 to 25. And advertising has never recovered its level from before. Today, what is new is that advertisers are going on the Internet and will not return to the paper. The problem is the same with the readership. Overall in the United States and Europe, the distribution of media crumbles by 2 per year. And each time, it is a young player is lost, a "digital native" who learns "online", on his PC, on its "smartphone", and will never read daily paper. The readership of the print media ages inexorably. It is linked to the technology but not only: there is also the breakdown of the relationship to citizenship, which weighs directly on the reading of newspapers. Result, hundreds of newspapers have gone bankrupt and thousands of employees lost their jobs for two years. Alone in the US, 10,000 journalists found themselves unemployed between 2007 and 2009.
Can the paper press find a new economic model in this context
Can be catastrophic conclusions of this gloomy picture, predicting the end of the "newspapers". But there is still a considerable demand of readers: this is not a crisis of information, it is a crisis of the economic model of the press. There are necessarily solutions. The transportation industry is well passed the car mounted to the car. And it grew without precedent for a century. I am convinced that the digital revolution will offer the same opportunity to the press because the technology is the solution, certainly not the problem. The question is whether the groups of "old media" will succeed to adapt or if tomorrow the information will be provided by newcomers from the Internet world.
Are there examples of "traditional" logs successful their digital mutation
There are more than a newspaper who has successfully completed its digital revolution. The sites of major British newspapers display 40 million unique visitors each day while those of the French dailies remain in the area of the 6 or 7 million. To do this, they have largely relied on the international. The "Guardian" for example has a third of its readership in Britain, a third party in the United States, and a third in the rest of the world. In 2002, the proportions were 80 in Great Britain, 5 in the United States, and 15 elsewhere in the world. He managed this evolution, not so much there with average wholesale, but especially how to titrate to highlight items of interest to foreigners. "el Pais" is a similar approach, with only 50 of its readership online in Spain. There is of course the asset of the global languages are English and Spanish, but it is also a matter of vision and will. French newspapers could count on Quebec, Africa, the Maghreb but they have now totally missed their implementation in Francophone areas: they have only 10-15 of readers from France.
The future of the news happening necessarily Web
No, there are also viable models for the paper press. The German press provides some interesting examples: a mass media, it is becoming a "niche media", providing very good articles, with, and faithful readers, without to deprive large editors. Many newspapers increased their forced March rates: the price for the sale of the German press has grown by 50 in four years while the cost of living was 15. Passing to 1.80 euro, German newspapers such as the "FAZ", "Die welt" or the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" have lost about 20 of their readers, but retained a core of loyal readership that their trust and appreciate how they treat information. In the end, they were winners.
And on the editorial plan, can you still win paper readers
Yes, see what are the Netherlands Axel Springer with "Welt Kompact" Germany or "nrc next": these newspapers are adaptations of the daily "Die welt" and reference "NRC Handelsblad", repackaged for less than 35 years. With about 20 journalists, they rewrite short versions of original items, integrate photos-shocks, and are sold cheaper, to 50 euro cents. Their broadcasts reach 80,000 best 100,000 every day, allowing the original dailies display sales globlales growing. An exception for days. Finally, many dailies in the world are doing with their offering of the weekend: the British "Times" magazines represent 50 of its advertising revenue. German newspapers have followed. In France, except for "Le Figaro", this strategy did not really convincing results, particularly because the place is taken by the "newsmagazines".
Is the Apple iPad arriving late may in France really a lifesaver for the press
Perhaps... If not just a simple copy - paste: the newspapers that will be transpose that on these shelves their classic paper or "online" world are likely to fail. Publishers must develop specific and innovative applications, reinventing an ergonomics of reading. The lamination on iPad is nice, he reminds the world of the paper, but not enough. Going to have to think of multimedia combining text, sound, video, interactive visual data, integrate tools of sharing to social networks, etc. But beware, the iPad will save not the press alone.
More generally, how can the French press to adapt to the new situation
I'm going to shock but I think that beyond the old debate on the conditions of distribution and printing should be already more concentration: information cost, the need to pool the means. The idea of concentration is howling in France because there is concern that it not be carried over editorial independence. The countries of the North as the Netherlands, the Sweden or the Finland, which are however only a small number of media groups, yet arrived at any balance.