If 2020 will remain as an annus horribilis in terms of health, the crisis has not affected national dailies, quite the contrary. Driven by digital technology and the need for information and entertainment of readers confined, under curfew and eager for Covid news, the national daily press is doing well. And overall sales of newspapers and magazines have not declined “That” of 1.5% in France in 2020, according to the results of the Alliance for press and media figures (ACPM) made public on Wednesday.
In their digital versions (PDF), which represent 356 million copies, they have jumped by 34.3% compared to 2019, while press sites and applications recorded a record number of visits, to more than 26 billion , 31.9% more than in 2019.
And Liberation, strong in the responsiveness and inventiveness of its writing, recorded the second highest increase, of 8.1%, to 76,522 copies. Behind the World, which is posting insolent double-digit growth: + 20.8% for more than 393,000 copies per day on average, including nearly 280,000 digital versions. But ahead of Le Figaro, the second national title with 331,927 copies, which only increased by 1.2%. The improvement also concerns Les Echos (+ 3.6%), Humanity (+ 5.9%), while La Croix is almost stable (-0.6%).
National dailies, “Digital pioneers”, are reaping the fruits of their investments, according to the deputy director general of the ACPM Jean-Paul Dietsch: they sold a total of 1.4 million copies per day (+ 3.4%), of which more than half in PDF (782,000 copies, + 36%).
On the other hand, the year proved to be delicate for Today in France (-14.4%) and L’Equipe (-7.7%), which suffered particularly from the cessation of sports competitions.
For its part, the regional daily press, less “digitized”, recorded a decline of 3.1%, to 3.6 million copies per day. However, it continues to evolve, with a jump of nearly 40% for digital newspapers (353,000 copies).
In detail, the biggest dailies fell more or less slightly: Ouest France (-1.2%), Sud Ouest (-3.2%), La Voix du Nord (-2.3%) and Le Parisien (- 1.1%).
As for the magazine press, its circulation fell by 1.9% to 761 million copies over the year, including 108 million in digital version (+ 30.4%).
Note among the major news weeklies, Marianne is progressing (+ 4.6%) unlike L’Express (-13.8%) or Le Point (-4.9%).
But it is the fine performance of the bimonthly Society (+ 55.68% to 76,225 copies) that impresses: in particular thanks to the success of the two issues devoted to the Dupont de Ligonnès affair published this summer.
As for the children’s press, it continues to grow. Praised “for at least three years” by parents anxious to fight against disinformation or the profusion of screens and social networks according to Dietsch, she also took advantage of the crisis: + 53% for Mon Quotidien, + 45% for Le Petit Daily, + 23% for My first Mickey’s journal …
Unsurprisingly, the distribution of the free press, distributed in particular in train and metro stations, has collapsed (-41.3%).
Finally, the professional press has recovered (+ 1.9% to 14.4 million copies).
With 1.9 billion copies (paper and digital) sold in 2020, the general public press “Is doing much better than the pessimistic scenarios had predicted”, summarized the Deputy Director General of the ACPM Jean-Paul Dietsch, on the occasion of the publication of the 2020 trends.
Despite a negative context for many industries, the press, whose distribution was also disrupted by the liquidation of Presstalis, thus suffered less erosion than in 2019, when it had recorded a decline in its circulation of 3.6%. compared to 2018.
Note: the ACPM has decided to neutralize in its calculations the months of March to June, marked by the first confinement and “the closure of most shops”, which therefore do not reflect a basic trend, explains Jean-Paul Dietsch to AFP. The pandemic has none the less “accelerated” according to him the transition from paper to the web, potentially “Two to three years”.