“Heavy weather advisory for the media” – David Lacombled’s column

The French watch less television. Audiences drop drastically. Thirty minutes less in two years according to the 2022 report by Médiamétrie devoted to television. We only watch the small skylight for an average of 3 hours and 26 minutes each day, compared to 3 hours and 58 minutes in 2020 and 3 hours and 41 minutes in 2021. tree that hides an increasingly sparse forest. Even if they remain undisputed leaders, the big historical channels, TF1 like M6, are suffering. Rich news, war in ukraine and elections in France, allows news channels to stand out and grow. The fact remains that the hearings seem to be on a toboggan which we know will accelerate even more for income.

In a global attention market, the pie is not expandable and it benefits the platforms which, however, are also experiencing a slowdown. It must be said that their power of attraction, astonishment and addiction is without comparison. It’s hard to resist the blockbusters of streaming services such as Netflix and the snacking of videos on YouTube or TikTok.

Fatigue. On the side of the traditional press, that is to say the one that existed before the advent of the Internet and which was able to seize the turning point, the positions remain fragile despite a relatively stable distribution as evidenced by the figures filed by securities with the CMPA. While paper distribution is declining, that on digital media is progressing. The fact remains that all the fixed cost lines of a newspaper are affected by inflation, from salaries to raw materials. Thus, many dailies have recently had to increase their rates, by 10 to 30 cents, and for some, announce restructuring which will result in social plans.

The General Information Press Alliance, which brings together 300 titles, is mobilizing to try to maintain a level of public aid, direct or indirect, which it deplores that it is in continual decline. The press has for many years had to deal with the illusion of free information and more recently with a form of information fatigue, such as described by the Jean-Jaurès Foundationaccelerated by the health crisis, which leads many citizens to no longer inform themselves.

However, all hope is not lost for those who love the press and quality information and see it as one of the essential pillars of our democracies. It takes rigor, commitment and enthusiasm to properly inform, educate and entertain. These are the very fundamentals of the press inscribed in the tables of the Press Freedom Act of July 29, 1881 which remains surprisingly sharp.

Faced with the rise of TikTok, which became the most downloaded application in the world in 2022, to reach 1.2 billion users, publishers intend to continue their investments in these formats.

Subscriptions. The latest report from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, based on the testimony of many publishers, traces several interesting paths of evolution even if it describes worried leaders. In the short term, they declare that they “will invest in the development of subscriptions” to stabilize their income while trying to diversify it. Thus among the innovations, the publishers questioned intend to “devote more resources to podcasts and digital audio, as well as to the development of newsletters”, two channels making it possible to retain consumers and also brands. Faced with the rise of TikTok, which became the most downloaded application in the world in 2022, to reach 1.2 billion users, publishers intend to continue their investments in these formats. According to L’Informé,TikTok’s turnover explodes in France “. Mainly drawn from advertising revenue, it would have been multiplied by ten to reach 30 million euros in 2022.

In addition, and more discreetly, media companies will look towards Artificial Intelligence (AI). We have seen how the Generative AIssuch as ChatGPT-3, could be transformed into writing aids and thus improve the efficiency of repetitive tasks or develop semi-automated content.

Contrary to a received idea presenting them as conservatives, the media have always been able to adapt and transform themselves in the face of the demands of the different eras they go through and describe. At the forefront, the media perceive the evolutions and transformations of their market even earlier than most companies. To face it, they must once again mobilize their inventiveness.

David Lacombled is president of La villa numeris

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“Heavy weather advisory for the media” – David Lacombled’s column

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