Quite all print dailies and magazines have launched their website and app. They operate under two main business models: paid or free access to the news content. However the majority of news dailies and weeklies have implemented the paid model (with a limited free access).
Even if newspapers or news magazines are still launched from time to time, the high costs for printing and delivering outlets (more or less 50 percent of the average budget) shift away publishers and editors from print to digital devices. Some print outlets have closed but are still alive online. But most online news websites are launched from scratch. One prominent case is the investigation news website Mediapart, which was launched in 2008 by editors and journalists (led by Edwy Plenel) who left the most legitimate print dailies (such as Le Monde, Libération) to innovate in journalism and create an online outlet based on a for-subscription business model. In 2016 Mediapart had 130,000 subscriptions, €11m turnover with €1.9m margins (16 percent of the turnover).
In recent years the French media landscape is witnessing a burgeoning movement that contributes to create alternative news media. Most call themselves “media de réinformation” (re-information media) as they offer an alternative view of news opposite to mainstream media. Most of them belong to the far sides of political game. They mainly operate through websites; however some launch online radio stations or TV channels through crowdsourcing calls. Half of the 30 first political sites listed by Alexa can be labelled far-right. As an illustration, on the left or far-left side, a team of individuals who are connected to far-left political leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon has launched in January 2018 an online TV called Le Media (Lemediatv.fr) in order to widely promote his ideas. It broadcasts news programs through its website and YouTube channel. On the far-right side many websites have been launched with the aim of highlighting news produced by mainstream press agencies – like AFP – but neglected by mainstream media as well as for acting as press agency and accordingly collecting crowdsourced news and disseminating them on Internet. According to Alexa data, in October 2016, this family of thought is exemplified by the following three most visited sites: Egaliteetreconciliation.fr (run by Alain Soral) is ranked 273th (8.1 million/month), Fdesouche.com is 487th (4.5 million/month), Lesmoutonsenrages.fr is 1400th (2.3 million/month).
According to Médiamétrie/Net Ratings data, in October 2017, 51.9 million people (82.9 percent of 2 years and more people) accessed Internet once a month. Among them 42.2 million connected to Internet each single day, 30.3 million of them via mobile phone. Most of web users access Internet through many devices: 34 percent of them use two devices each day. They equally surf on Internet via mobile phone or computer. Not surprisingly Google and Facebook are the two most accessed sites with respectively 34.3 million and 28.1 million UU (unique users via IP address) each single day. As a worldwide search engine Google is the 1st source of news search on Internet.
The first media group is ranked 4th: the Figaro CCM Benchmark group with 5.7 million unique users a day. This high ranking is induced by websites – developed by CCM benchmark – that don’t deliver hard news but rather soft news (mainly entertainment and services content: weather, job classifieds, legal news, etc.). The flagship news-oriented website Lefigaro.fr attracted an average of 2.2 million UU/day that is nearly 40 percent of the overall group audience. It’s followed by Prisma Media that attracts 5.4 million UU/day and Webedia 3.9 million UU/day via websites dedicated to video games, movies news, fashion and cosmetics, travel, etc.
According to APCM data, as to digital audience of newspapers in January 2018, Lefigaro.fr appears to be the most general news provider (118m overall visits) via its website (55m) as well through web mobile (63.5m). It’s followed by Lemonde.fr that attracted 98.3m overall visits with an equal split between website and mobile site. Lequipe.fr is ranked 5th with more than 91m accesses to its site in January 2018.
In the first semester of 2017, according to the Institut de Recherches et d'Etudes Publicitaires (IREP), advertising revenues from overall websites have increased (+9.8 percent) unlike traditional media (print press and even radio or TV) that dramatically face a continuing loss of their advertising revenues (-4.9 percent). As a consequence the overall revenues of all French media are quite stable with an amount of €5.122bn.