Le Figaro, the French daily newspaper, has unveiled its new payment plan, with three tiers: Connect (free), Select (eight euros/month) and Business (15 euros/month). The focus on charging for additional features and services, rather than the site’s main news content – still outside the paywall.
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News and features
- New clippings service launched by Financial Times
- Geoff Hill to manage CNN International Europe & Africa desk in London
Ed’s picks at this link
- Channel 4 cuts, data journalism, Le Figaro and paid content, George Alagiah and Fairtrade, US journalists released from North Korea
Tip of the Day
On the Editors’ Blog
The Editors Weblog picks up reports from Press News and 20minutes that the French daily, Le Figaro, is to start charging for some of its online content in early 2010.
France has extended the age range of its free newspaper subscription scheme. The country’s government will now offer a free newspaper once a week for a year to 18-24-year-olds, under the 600 million euro scheme.
Slate.fr, which is the US online magazine Slate’s French edition, had its beta edition on Tuesday, the Editors Weblog reports.
Editors Weblog picks out comments made by co-founder Johan Hufnagel in an interview with Le Figaro about the launch.
And while we’re on the theme of digital conferences in Amsterdam, news comes that the Guardian News & Media’s special adviser, Caroline Little, will be the keynote speaker at the annual World Digital Publishing Conference & Expo, to be held October 15-16.
Little was previously behind the Washington Post and Newsweek Interactive’s growth online, as their chief executive officer and publisher. She now advises the Guardian as it expands its online presence in the US.
Other speakers at the conference will include Ilicco Elia, head of mobile Europe for Thomson Reuters, Gary Clarke, director of business development for Amazon Kindle, and Frédéric Sitterlé, new media director for Le Figaro in France.
Organisers say that there are still places available at the conference.
New French weekly Vendredi, which will be launched on October 17, will reverse publish the ‘best information’ found online in an eight-page print edition.
Le Figaro is predicting that 20% of its revenue will be generated by its online operations by 2010.
But the French newspaper has plans to beat this, Pierre Conte, deputy managing director for new media and advertising for Le Figaro Group, told delegates at the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) conference today.
After rising from 2 million unique users to its websites to 8 million in two years, the group’s web traffic now accounts for 1 French internet user out of every four.
Last year its online revenues accounted for 13% of its total income – so how will the publisher build on this?
Online success will only be achieved if all the group’s editorial teams want to take part, Francis Morel, managing director, said.
As such Le Figaro adopted an ‘invite not assign’ policy, giving journalists the opportunity to do work for the websites if they wished (though initially for no extra pay).
According to Morel merging editorial teams for print and online was seen as essential, despite concerns raised by the unions.
Journalists became increasingly enthusiastic about working for the websites and now both editorial teams are on the same floor under the same editorial head, though Morel insists this has been about building bridges and not enforced integration.
The group has sought to recoup floundering revenues from print classifieds by making a concerted push with this advertising online, setting up a team to find advertisers for online-only.
Contextual and behavioural advertising is also being experimented with.
E-commerce and diversification
Building around the flagship portal of Le Figaro, the publisher has launched specialist sport, finance and lifestyle websites, in addition to acquiring several e-commerce sites.
Content has also been syndicated to other websites, though this is not a long-term business model, Conte says.
“This business [selling content to other websites] will continue to be weak and limited. We need to work on ad revenue. We are not reinventing anything by saying that, but we need to integrate our sales house.”
News remains a priority online for all the group’s content-based websites. On the Le Figaro site a commenting function has been added to articles and submissions from users are welcomed.
Le Figaro has also set up its own TV studio to produce video clips for online and mobile.
As a word of warning, Morel stresses that the digital developments in these areas have not been at the expense of the print product.
“It is indispensable to continue to invest and focus on print, because while the internet is a key territory, it will not replace print.
“We need to be extremely cautious and prudent. The internet is a very volatile market. We need to be very flexible at any time to change our course because we do not know what tomorrow holds.”