Thursday 19 February 2009

Saving the Press the French Way: President Sarkozy's grand ideas

Elsewhere on this blog I've been bemoaning the fact that no-one seems to have any big ideas on how to save newspapers. All the talk is about small start-ups, and how combinations of new websites and bloggers will take the place of the traditional press.
Then I got an email newsletter from the Newspaper Society outlining some of President Sarkozy's plans to assit French newspapers. I know there is a strong argument that state help for newspapers would mean creeping state control but at least in France they are DOING SOMETHING. Here we seem to be sitting back and letting the local press go the wall.
According to the NS, this is what is happening in France:
"There were 90 recommendations to improve the situation of the press industry included in a Green Paper prepared by four working groups of French forum ‘Les états généraux de la presse écrite’ although for the time being President Sarkozy has adopted only some of them.
In his speech on 23 January, he stated: “Everything should be done to enhance the economic equation for press companies and to reinforce their equity capital...”

The proposals announced include:

Providing the print media with state support totalling €200m per year over three years

Increasing the levels of state advertising in the print media

Significantly increasing the development of the online press possibly through subsidies and advances

Reinforcing assistance for modernisation of points of sale. Moreover providing support of €60m support for newspaper retailers and €70m for home delivery

A trial programme giving teenagers celebrating their 18th birthday a free, year-long subscription to any general news daily of their choice.

The NS also provides these links.
Speech by President Sarkozy
Green Paper of Etats généraux de la presse

Interesting that the NS should be putting this out. Newspaper publishers are not coming around to welcoming state intervention are they? Things must be bad.

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