Paris (AFP)

L'Express wants to come out of the red in 2022 and double the number of its subscribers in the coming years by accelerating its digitization and developing podcasts and videos, announced Thursday Alain Weill, president of the weekly, during a meeting with journalists .

In June, when he announced that he was releasing the controls of the French operator SFR and Altice Media (RMC and BFMTV), Mr. Weill promised that his next flagship project would be the relaunch of the news magazine founded in 1953. .

His ambition: to return to profits next year after having started to go up the slope.

This year, operating losses are expected to be between 3 and 5 million euros, after 6 million in 2020 and 12 million in 2019.

He also hopes to go from 100,000 subscribers (in hard copy but also digital) to 200,000, ideally in 2023 for the newspaper's 70th anniversary.

With the British weekly The Economist as a model, it wants to narrow the target of its readers and address opinion leaders, and is clearly positioning itself as a liberal newspaper.

To successfully relaunch the magazine, founded by Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber and Françoise Giroud, the editorial staff (65 journalists) has been rejuvenated and half renewed over the past two years.

In addition to certain thematic pillars, such as politics, economics, foreign affairs, the Express intends to explore three major subjects: digital transformation, ecological transition and science.

To attract new readers, L'Express relies on its podcasts - broadcast every day on a particular subject -, its newsletters (one at 7:00 a.m., then another at 6:00 p.m.), as well as its "masterclasses ".

These are long videos broadcast from 2022 at the rate of one per month in which a company director or a politician will tell his story.

"Which could be a first step towards television," said Mr. Weill.

The price of the weekly subscription - which rose in the spring from 4.90 to 5.90 euros at newsstands - would have to be increased if all the ancillary services are used.

Aged 60, Mr. Weill bought the Express from the Altice group in 2019, which remained a minority shareholder in the stock.

© 2021 AFP

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