French News Revolution: La Tribune Sold, Ends Daily Print Run

France’s national La Tribune newspaper said Monday’s edition was its last daily print copy, as its owner’s sale to a regional publisher and an online ad group was announced.

The pair – France-Economie-Regions and web group Hi-Media – will axe 115 of 165 staff, play up the paper’s website and revert to a weekly, journal-style print run.

It is the second closure of a French daily in two months. In December, France-Soir’s owner Alexander Pugachyov, said he would end that title’s print edition and publish only online, with the loss of 89 out of 127 jobs.

La Tribune describes it as “the symptom of a sickness” “a tragic epilogue, which comes after 27 years of turbulent and complex history”.

France’s news publishers have long been crippled by, for example, unions’ resistance to change, and partly dependent on state subsidies, including a programme which gives a free newspaper subscription to every 18 year-old. Even the conservative Le Monde was forced to sell to a trio of tycoons in 2010 to avoid bankruptcy.

In the case of each, radical change for the digital age has now been foist upon them. “This is a new beginning,” France-Economie-Regions’ owner Jean-Chistophe Tortora tells AFP. “ has two million unique visitors who are faithful. We are targeting three million in 2013.

Last summer, LaTribine.fre began trialling micropayments for some of its opinion articles, with plans to charge for more sections of the site, including through a day pass.

Hi-Media operates a large online advertising network and a micropayments platform. La Tribune’s new joint owners plan to invest €7 million in the title, AFP reports.