It’s not just UK newspapers that are putting their hopes in online paywalls, their French neighbours are just as keen on charging readers for online access. Luc De Barochez, managing editor of lefigaro.fr, the website of the daily Le Figaro newspaper, tells 20Minutes.fr (via editorsweblog.org) the site will start charging for some content in early 2010: “It will take the form of a premium. We are looking at the formula that will be presented either a subscription or a consultation with a la carte items.”
Lefigaro.fr is one of the top French news sites with 6.6 million unique monthly users in June, but online ads alone are simply not enough: “We find that advertising is not enough to (maintain) a good site,” says De Barochez. “The site does not lose money, but advertising revenue does not ensure its development.” 20Minutes reports that Lexpress.fr is also considering a paywall.
Like Scandinavian countries, France offers state-funded relief to its news biz, via schemes such as giving away newspaper subscriptions to 18-year-olds. But whether it’s giveaways or paid content, French publishers are going to need something else to boost their incomes: Didier Quillot, CEO of Lagardère Active, the French Hachette-owned publisher