La Presse Expects “Meagre” $40M iPad Investment Recouped in 18-24 Months

Back in April it was revealed Quebec’s La Presse had spent $40 million to launch its free iPad-only newspaper, powered by over 300 staff and Apple’s Newsstand. Speaking at the Tablet and App Summit currently going on in Berlin, president of La Presse, Guy Crevier shared more details about its iPad investment, according to (they translated the French presentation).

Here is the breakdown of how that $40 million iPad newspaper investment has been allocated:

  • $24 million on salaries
  • $6 million on assets
  • $8 million on software
  • $2 million on research

Crevier called the $40 million number a “meagre” investment compared to what it would have cost to produce a print product, pegged at $174 million according to his estimates. The print edition of the newspaper currently has a circulation of 225,000 during the week, whereas the digital iPad version reaches 1.8 million unique visitors weekly.

La Presse reveals it worked closely with Apple from the beginning to launch its digital edition. Crevier detailed the need to adapt as print subscribers were dropping along with advertising revenues plus the fact younger readers expect news to be free, in what he calls “an irreversible phenomenon”:

He explained how research found that few 16 to 34 year olds read daily newspapers – but they use mobiles and tablets.

“The challenge for publishers is to reach the younger generation,” Crevier said. “And young people don’t want to pay for information.”

“I am against paywalls,” he explained. “You can’t reach 18 to 34’s with paywalls,” he said. Instead, you reach the “55+ generation”, which he argued is not a long-term strategy for reaching the readers of the future.

He added: “Most digital strategies are not digital strategies – they are sales strategies.”

La Presse charges advertisers $16,000 for a page and companies are paying for the chance to reach their app audience, which stands at 300,000 downloads with 800 new daily readers. Users spend on average 35 minutes daily reading La Presse on the iPad and 70 minutes on weekends.

So far, Crevier says their new model is working and expects their investment to be recouped in 18 to 24 months. Seriously, a job well done if they can keep going and become profitable.

Click here to download La Presse for iPad–it’s free. Are you reading your news via La Presse? How do you like the experience?