Published on March 3, 2014
Local pure players in Southern France Between journalistic diversity and economic constraints Nikos Smyrnaios (University of Toulouse), Emmanuel Marty (University of Nice) Franck Bousquet (University of Toulouse)
The context Local news in France is an oligopolistic market Diminishing circulation & ad revenue Newspapers conservative on the web “Nouvelle vague” of journalistic start-ups Pure players are independent, participatory, innovative but economically weak Proliferation at the local level
The questions What are the editorial strategies and journalistic practices inside local pure-players ? What are their business models ? Is there a chance that such players survive and reinvigorate local journalism ?
The research ground Name Founded Area Audience Revenue Staff Sources Marsactu.fr 2009 Marseille pop. 1,5M 200k UV €220k (-€100k) 10/5 Advertising +PR films Carredinfo.fr 2011 Toulouse pop. 900k 60k UV €12k 4/3 Advertising + subscription + teaching Ariegenews.com 2007 Ariège pop. 150k 450k UV €254k (-€10k) 8/2 Advertising +PR films
The players Marsactu: investigative journalism, economy, politics. Target: urban, upper class, educated, liberal. Founded by an experienced manager Carré d‟info: inspired by Rue 89, society, culture, technology, neither crime, nor sports. Target: urban left leaning. Founded by young idealistic journalists. Ariège News: everyday life in the country, politics, sports, economy. Target: rural. Founded by an experienced entrepreneur.
Relations to the public Ariège News‟ proximity to its public: geographical Marsactu: geographical + sociological Carré d‟info: geographical + sociological + political Urban educated public: commentator, informant, watchdog, disseminator Marsactu+Carré d‟info: strong participatory culture Facebook & Twitter larger than Google Priviledge local audiences (advertisers „target)
Strategies & practices All: at least as much field reporting as desk work Marcactu & Carré d‟info: intense use of social networks for research & promotion Loose hierarchy & highly autonomous work Marsactu & Ariègenews: good terms with local authorities and business Multitasking (text, video, photo) Marsactu Hard News/investigati on Carré d‟info Ariègenews Soft News
Business models Unable to attract sufficient revenue from subscription or/and advertising Carré d‟info closed in December 2013 Ariègenews‟ main revenue sources: advertising and PR film production mostly for municipalities and local authorities. Close to breaking even but difficulties in investing. High video distribution costs. Revenue stagnating Marsactu‟s main revenue sources: advertising and PR film production mostly for business. Tripled revenue between 2012 and 2013, €100k losses
Local pure players Proximity journalism (geographically but also sociologically and politically) Strong participatory culture More critical of local politics & business Outdoors journalism as opposed to desk But… Dependency on PR activities, difficulties in investing, small audiences of opinion leaders
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