France’s Newspaper Industry Woes- All Politics or Sign Of the Times?

23Jan09

Media Buyer Planner reported that French president Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged nearly $780 million in emergency aid for his country’s troubled newspaper industry.

Original French Newspaper Gazette from 1745

Original French Newspaper Gazette from 1745

France’s newspaper industry is among the least profitable in Europe. It is hampered by communist print unions and a lack of kiosks that sell papers, and suffers from a declining readership that is well below that of the U.K. or Germany, writes the Guardian.

The article reports that newspapers have been hurt by the lack of trust the public has in media. It says that politicians are known to rewrite their interviews for publication, and the president’s friends in business own several major newspapers and television stations.

And goes on to say the main problem is the cost of printing in France.

But could it be more than that?  Sure political manipulation in the newspaper industry can undermine the credibility of what might otherwise be reliable news reporting. But could the nation’s print industry troubles also be a sign of an overall shift to digital media?

Political interference in the system can make the truth hard to spot.

No more advertising

The article also said that Sarkozy has been criticized for his recent attempts to tighten state control of public TV, including his move to drop prime time ads. Apparently France will be phasing out TV commercials entirely by 2011, eliminating some $700 million in advertising.

I’m sure that’s not good news to the country’s major advertisers, or to advertising agencies. But, by definition, isn’t public TV meant to be paid for by the public, not by advertisers? In France, will it mean a “more free” press (one not swayed by corporate control) or one entirely swayed by political influence?

What do you think?

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4 Responses to “France’s Newspaper Industry Woes- All Politics or Sign Of the Times?”

  1. 1 okathleen

    This would be a problem in the UK, the ads are the most interesting bits on the telly!

    http://www.okathleen.wordpress.com

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