Podcast and French Press: Gadget or Strategy

Once upon a time the podcast
Podcasts and the French press; it’s a long story: in 2007, Liberation made an experience with “Silence on joue !” (a podcast about gaming). However, the first major milestone occurred in 2016, with the launch of “Transfert” by Slate.fr: it was not only a podcast but an economic model too.

In 2017, it fastly grew with Numerama, The Conversation or Uskek & Rica. In 2018, most of information websites have their podcast. In 2019, among the list of absent, there are Le Monde (one of the most prominent French newspaper), the French version of the Huffington Post or L’Opinion.

But beyond this enthusiasm, did news websites integrate the codes of the podcast? Are their manners in line with the practices of the auditors? Alternatively, on the contrary, are we not in follow-up without understanding the podcast ecosystem?

The video analogy

From the beginning of the 10’s, news websites and press titles diversified their activities with the creation of a video department. This format reached the maturity in 2015, in particular with the arrival of new video formats and the use of Youtube or Facebook spreading power.

For achieving this purpose, how many attempts failed? Le Monde, for example, set video making from 2012 with a daily production of short reports, reminding the tone of news television channels in a cheaper version. The experience stopped at the end of 2013. They started again in 2015 with a new concept (fact checking and explanation with the social network stories tone) to achieve success.

So they needed three years for this media to master the video format. Should we wait the same time for the podcast one?

What is the status today?

This article tries to benchmark news websites and press titles regarding their involvement in the podcast format, but also their application (or not) of the best practices related to this particular medium. 
Thus, a panel of 29 news website and press titles have been made, and each one was evaluated on three topics:
- Production of podcasts
- Legibility of the podcast offer and highlights of it
- Consideration of the podcast manners
Each item is assessed on a 5 points scale regarding the table below:

The results

Madmoizelle, Slate.fr, Ouest-France or the Swiss daily newspaper Le Temps are the most Podcast-friendly. In addition to the content creation, they are characterized by a robust technical mastery of the podcast environment. Podcasts are integrated into the structure of the site, which, in addition to legibility, proves that it is for them a major strategic axis of development.

On the other hand, Le Point does not seem to have understood the podcast listeners habits: the podcast can only be listened from the website, no possibility of listening (and therefore subscription) via apps. Is it still podcast? At the bottom of the ranking, we also find Le Parisien (the most read French daily newspaper), who despite the launch of a daily show, does not communicate on investments on his homepage: schizophrenia or lack of projects integration?

The big three does not care about Podcast

Among Big 3, Le Monde is the biggest absent, and Libération that was a pioneer in the French podcast landscape does a below-average performance with a low effort for highlighting its podcast offer. The surprise is coming from Le Figaro with three running podcasts, and correct podcasts offer exposure.

In conclusion

There is still numerous progress leverages for news websites and press titles, like a quick win with a better highlighting of their podcast content, or the application of podcast listeners requirements (registration of the podcast on several podcast apps). It should also be mentioned that this measure of the podcast friendliness of the print media is not a value judgment.

The degree of highlighting of the podcast content on the media website may depend on many elements (economic model, experimentation, etc …) and not negligence.