The team records its first real profit in ten years

L’Equipe Group posted its first real profit in ten years thanks to cost reductions, the revival of advertising on TNT and its evolution in the digital sphere. France’s reference sports media had a small net result of €400,000 in 2018, but only the Blues’ World Cup victory put the group in the green, thanks to the exceptional sales of the post-match diaries.

This time, the subsidiary of the Amaury Group made a profit of just over 4 million euros for the fiscal year 2021, compared to a loss of 10 million in 2020. With a stable net income, the group owes its return to profits to reduce sources of losses – the transition from “France Football” to Monthly periodicity, for example, to reduce its weight on accounts by 50% – to the overall reduction in costs and increase the weight in the income mix of the most profitable activities: Company 21 production, diversification and digital.

On this specific point, “printed and digital revenue curves [ventes et publicité] It will meet next year”, declared Laurent Prudhomme, president of the group since the beginning of 2021, in an interview with “Equus”.

Second progression on DTT

L’Equipe reported the second (+25%) increase for DTT in audience share for 2021, behind CNews. “Programming has evolved to consider it a free channel, with fixing dates like ‘L’Equipe de Greg’, and it has paid off,” says Laurent Prud’homme. These “talkative” meetings made it possible, in addition to focusing directly on its best rights such as Le Mans, the Ski World Cup or the Diamond League, to control the cost of the network. The result, “The series is close to balance, excluding structural costs such as the buildings,” identifies Laurent Prud’homme.

The daily newspaper has an average circulation of 214,000 per day in 2021 (including 123,000 in digital print, which subscribers see primarily), a level stable by neutralizing 2020 restrictions, according to the Coalition of Press and Media Figures (ACPM). Newspaper and magazine sales fell 11% to an average of 68,725 copies. But the group has seen its digital subscribers increase by 15%, to 350,000, a step closer to its goal of 450,000 subscribers in 2025.

Rising prices

Higher paper costs (+60% for dailies and +93% for magazines) and a potentially more challenging advertising environment mean caution remains in place. “My role is to ensure that we continue to be profitable in 2022, I remain optimistic but the market is fragile,” says Laurent Prud’homme.

Anyway, the course is online, and at its service TV and paper. The collection relies on both free software and ad-supported subscriptions. The show is divided as follows: the free side, sports information and live competitions streamed live (1500 hours exclusive), the paid side being more practical information and L’Equipe Explore’s presentation of documentaries (particularly a large monthly documentary) and podcasts.

Laurent Prud’homme wants to make the L’Equipe app “the focus of sports,” recognizing that the societal dimensions of the sport (Chinese tennis player, sports speculator, etc.) are increasingly being included and “enjoyed with pleasure,” he says. The group also wants to go beyond e-commerce – for example, the Roland-Garros marketing agreement.

social climate

At the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, L’Equipe was in a very tense social situation, with a fourteen-day strike. Today, the PSE and the reorganization that followed “has been in effect since last fall,” the administration explains, even if the PSE is still being challenged in court and could cost the group a bit more if it loses.

Frances Magwa, a representative of SNJ’s Daily Syndicate, believes that the social climate “is not peaceful, and the economic model has not been found.” [cf. les promotions sur les abonnements numériques] And that it is necessary to make social plans or regular reorganizations because the priority is to reduce costs while the sports calendar even the Olympics is exceptional.” A journalist from L’Equipe believes that “many things are back to normal” and that “the strike is a bit far away now.” .

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