April 18, 2016 Last Updated 11:26 am

La Presse offers a progress report on effort to go digital-only on weekdays, relying on tablet app

‘Thirty months after its launch, La Presse+ is now more successful than the print version of La Presse after 131 years of existence’ – Guy Crevier, President and Publisher of La Presse

The world has moved on, tablet editions are dead, right? And the future is … what? print? the web? mobile? That continues to be the conversation among publishing executives who were never very excited about investing in a new platform they didn’t understand, while finally admitting that maybe this whole Internet thingy is not going away anytime soon.

Still, most of the US trade press covering the newspaper and magazine industry remains completely, undyingly devoted to the idea that print will live on forever. Anyone even suggesting that the future may be on mobile devices, let alone tablets, is seen as hopelessly naive, someone who would be better off working for one of the tech sites, or even TalkingNewMedia.

LaPressPlus-4-18-16

That is why I have been interested to hear again from La Presse, the French-Canadian daily newspaper that a while back made a rather expensive bet on tablets, launching La Presse+ – which is both an app and a platform (though currently only their own paper and the Toronto Star use it).

Late last year La Presse announced that it was taking the giant leap, it would stop producing its weekday print edition and depend on its digital properties. La Presse still publishes a weekend print edition.

guy-crevier-president-280La Presse will soon become the world’s first major print daily newspaper to go 100% digital on weekdays, and will position itself as Québec’s digital news and information leader,” said Guy Crevier, President and Publisher of the paper late last year.

“Thirty months after its launch, La Presse+ is now more successful than the print version of La Presse after 131 years of existence. Over 460,000 people have made La Presse+ part of their weekly news and information ritual. At the same time, La Presse+ is a huge success with advertisers, who have quickly adopted it as a creative advertising vehicle—a highly effective and measurable medium for reaching top-quality target audiences.”

Things have been pretty quiet since then as the industry – and certainly TNM – waited to hear how things were going. Today, the newspaper released an announcement concerning their progress.

“At the beginning of the year, La Presse completed its digital transition, with our La Presse+ digital tablet edition successfully replacing the Monday-to-Friday print edition,” Crevier said in the press release. “Three years after its launch, La Presse+ is now established as an indispensable medium of reference in Québec, both for readers who have made it a daily ritual and for the advertiser clients who choose it to deliver impactful marketing campaigns. Today, we are very proud of the progress we have made in the past few years, and more convinced than ever of the relevance of our digital transformation.”

According to the paper, since the announcement that La Presse would be go digital-only on weekdays, the weekly readership of La Presse+ has increased by almost 30 percent: nearly 140,000 new readers1 are using the app each week, or 725 new app downloads per day. Of course, downloads, as any developer of publishing apps will tell, do not necessarily translate into readers. But La Presse says 260,000 unique tablets connect to La Presse+ daily, spending between 40 to 60 minutes with the digital edition.

The press release below provides the data and the data sources.

Like any digital publishing venture, the bottom line will be… the bottom line, so it will be interesting to continue to follow La Presse in their effort. But I have always felt that the true test of tablets editions, as in the true test of any digital-only strategy, is to make a commitment to the strategy and to not give up on it too early.

Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily experiment was too early, too short, and targeted at the wrong audience (older conservative readers, rather younger, tech savvy readers who are far more likely to be west coast liberals).

Here is the La Presse press release, their early take on their progress:


Montréal, Québec – April 18, 2016 – To mark La Presse+’s third anniversary, La Presse, Canada’s French-language daily of record, reviews the achievements and outstanding performance of its digital edition for tablets since its launch.

“At the beginning of the year, La Presse completed its digital transition, with our La Presse+ digital tablet edition successfully replacing the Monday-to-Friday print edition,” commented Guy Crevier, President and Publisher of La Presse. “Three years after its launch, La Presse+ is now established as an indispensable medium of reference in Québec, both for readers who have made it a daily ritual and for the advertiser clients who choose it to deliver impactful marketing campaigns.” Mr, Crevier added: “Today, we are very proud of the progress we have made in the past few years, and more convinced than ever of the relevance of our digital transformation.”

A constantly growing media platform
Since the announcement of the end of the weekday print edition seven months ago, the weekly readership of La Presse+ has increased by almost 30%: nearly 140,000 new readers1 are using the app each week. Three years on from its launch, the popularity of La Presse+ continues to grow, with an average of 725 new app downloads per day. That impressive increase shows that readers of the print edition of La Presse are continuing to migrate to La Presse+, and that new readers are signing on all the time as well. Today, an average of nearly 260,000 unique tablets2 are connected to La Presse+ daily. Readers show continued engagement and great enthusiasm for the news and information experience offered by La Presse+ and they spend between 40 and 60 minutes3 daily with their digital edition, depending on the day of the week.

La Presse+: the number one news app in Québec
That success was recently confirmed by a study of Quebecers’ news and information consumption habits in the digital age, conducted by the Centre d’études sur les edias at Université Laval. Based on number of users as well as reading time, the study found that La Presse+ holds a 43%4 share of the mobile news app market in Québec, far in advance of its closest competitor, which has a 16% share.

2.4 million readers
Earlier this week, La Presse also stood out in the results of the latest daily newspaper readership survey, once again ranking as the leader in digital news and information in the province. Each week, more than 2.4 million readers in Québec consult our digital platforms (La Presse+, LaPresse.ca, and the La Presse Mobile app).5 That’s 43% more readers than our nearest rival, whose digital platforms attract 1.7 million weekly readers. These results offer further proof that digital media, including La Presse+, are extremely popular with Quebecers, as the print newspaper industry continues its decline.

Renewed readership
La Presse+ is popular among all age groups, but most particularly among young adults. Readers in the 25-to-54 age group make up 63%6 of its audience, versus 46% for the print edition. The La Presse brand, propelled by the success of La Presse+, has leapt 16 positions in the Ipsos-Infopresse 2016 rankings of the most influential brands in Québec among millennials.

Effective and much-appreciated advertising content
In an industry undergoing profound change, La Presse+ is now positioned as an indispensable media platform for reaching and interacting with a critical mass of high-quality readers. La Presse+ stands apart from its competitors in offering advertisers and agencies a range of innovative, creative, effective and measurable advertising products that truly meet their needs. To date, some 1,800 advertisers have chosen this leading-edge digital vehicle, publishing close to 30,000 ads. Three years after the launch of the app, advertising revenues from La Presse+ already account for more than 75% of La Presse’s total advertising revenues, while all of its digital platforms, taken together, generate 88% of those revenues. These excellent results show that advertisers are continuing to transfer their investments to La Presse+.

Sources:
(1) Localytics, September 7 to 13, 2015, vs. March 28 to April 3, 2016 (1.5 readers per tablet [CROP, January 2015]).
(2) Localytics, daily average number of unique tablets, March 28 to April 1, 2016.
(3) Localytics, Spring 2016.
(4) Les Québécois et l’information à l’ère du numérique, 2015. market shares calculated based on number of users and usage intensity, Centre d’études sur les médias, Université Laval.
(5) Vividata 2015 Q4, Digital Readership, Weekly, Quebec 18+.
(6) CROP, Janurary 2015

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