Le Monde proves print is not dead


Paris, June 2016 – In 2010, a media analyst was all set to compose a dirge for a French media icon, Le Monde. Frederic Filloux’s had gazed into his crystal ball and what he had seen had convinced him that “Within two weeks, the French newspaper Le Monde will run out of cash.” The implication, it was clear, was that the paper would soon be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Yes, the paper did run out of cash, but thanks to a fresh injection of capital by investors, today Le Monde is being touted as a transformation miracle, a beacon of hope for struggling media businesses, a case study in strategic management and a vindication of the determination and conviction of its transformation driver, group president Louis Dreyfus.

In the midst of the gathering storm, Dreyfus famously stated: “At Le Monde, we believe print is not dead. Whatever the difficulties or losses are, people will buy our product, whether that is in print or digital, as long as we have exclusive content. We will survive and grow if we have the best journalists, and that is the first priority for us.”

So what was his turnaround strategy?

Speaking recently at the World News Media Congress in Cartagena, Colombia, Dreyfus said he went into the stable to start a little revolution. He focused on four critical areas of the transformation strategy:

  • That everything is innovation-driven (launching new products, partnerships and initiatives);
  • Leveraging the paper’s premium content environment;
  • Focusing on news story “makers”; and
  • Identifying the new frontiers to pursue.

His last word? Speed to market.

  • Editor’s note: This summary is culled from a report of the World News Media Congress held in Colombia on June 12-14, 2016.