Friday, March 29, 2013

France Soir rises from the ashes to launch a new tablet edition into the Apple Newsstand

Just over one year ago Franco-Russian businessman Alexander Pugachyov announced that the money losing tabloid, France Soir, would stop publishing a print edition. With the announcement the majority of the staff was let go.

France Soir was originally launched in November 1944 as France Soir – Défense de la France by two French members of the Resistance. After the end of the war the paper became France Soir, a popular evening newspaper that at one time had 1.5 million readers. But by 2006, when the paper was sold to a real estate developer and a former journalist at the paper, the circulation had dwindled to 50K. Three years later the paper was sold once again, this time to Pugachyov, the son of a former Russian oligarch gone bust.

Finally, in December 2011, with circulation reportedly around 30K, the paper was shutdown.

But yesterday a new tablet magazine appeared inside the Apple Newsstand: France Soir l’e-mag : magazine français d’actualités, with Philippe Mendil, directeur de la publication, announcing the apps arrival on the publication's website.

The app appears to have been created by the digital agency Group Palpix and is designed to be read in landscape. (See comment below for correction.)

Pricing is 1,79 € for a single edition, with 1-month subscriptions priced at 3,59 €, 6-month at 17,99 €, and 1-year at 29,99 €. The new weekly edition is scheduled to appear inside the Newsstand app every Friday at 6PM (that's 18h for those of you abroad).

The story of the reappearance of France Soir was quite a mystery to unravel, with not even Google of much help. Following the announcement that the paper would go online-only and end its print run, thousands of copies of the paper were thrown out into the streets of Paris in protest to the move and the loss of jobs. But the end was coming, nonetheless. In July, a French court ordered the liquidation of the newspaper. A few months later the paper's assets ended up with Philippe Mendil, the CEO of the Cards Off, an Internet financial security company. This, apparently, is who is behind the new version of France Soir.

Just as the invention of the CD brought lots of LPs back into circulation, there is no reason to believe that the tablet platform can't do the same for publications, giving new life to folded magazines and newspapers. In fact, I think there may even be a market for back issues of old titles, as well, just as there is for those Blue Note recordings from the fifties.