Quebec newspaper switches to electronic-only weekday edition
By Cindy Macdonald
Beginning next January, La Presse, a French-language newspaper in Quebec, will cease publishing a print edition for the Monday to Friday papers. Instead, it will provide a free digital edition tailored to tablet computers called La Presse+.
The publisher says this will make La Presse the first daily print newspaper to be 100% digital during the week. La Presse will continue to print and distribute a hard-copy edition on Saturdays. It will be deliverd to subscribers and sold at various outlets.
The publisher notes that La Presse+, after being in existence only 30 months, is more successful than La Presse’s print edition, which is 131 years old. More than 460,000 people access La Presse+ each week.
The Toronto Star reports that the number of paid print subscribers to La Presse decreased to 81,000 from 161,000 when the tablet version was launched.
Announcing the change to digital-only format, the publisher and president of La Presse, Guy Crevier, quoted figures that characterize the decline of newspapers. He said the North American newspaper industry lost 63% of its advertising revenue between 2006 and 2013, or US$29 billion. As well, paid circulation for daily papers in North America dropped by 22%.
“In this context, the distribution model for printed newspapers, with printing costs, paper costs and the cost of the trucks that travel the roads night after night to delivery copies, has simply reached it limit.”
Crevier also noted that the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper, has purchased the La Presse+ platform and launched its own online product, Star Touch.