The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

La Presse: A reinvented model to contend with the crisis among dailies

On December 14, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal played host to the president of La Presse, Pierre-Elliott Levasseur.

Before an audience of 200 at the Hotel Bonaventure Montréal, Mr. Levasseur provided an update on the business model of La Presse and its successful shift to a fully digital format.

An innovative, unique model

While the world of journalism and dailies reached a major turning point in recent years, caused in part by an accelerating shift to digital technology, the decline in ad revenue, and the end of paper editions, La Presse quickly realized that the existing business model was no longer viable in the long term.

This prompted the organization to undertake a major transformation based on three pillars that are key to its success: clarifying its mission, innovating to deliver an updated user experience, and developing an effective business model.

It took over three years to design the La Presse+ experience for tablet, a cornerstone of the new strategy driven by Mr. Levasseur. La Presse also took the opportunity to review its procedures and products, while making it a point of pride to retain the 200 editorial room employees who contribute to the quality of the journalistic content.

To optimize its activities, Mr. Levasseur also noted that La Presse made massive investments in developing its advertising products and in data acquisition.

"Our ad revenue increased 31% this year, the highest in Canada after Google and Facebook. This represents more than just survival: it is sustainability."

Throughout this transformation, La Presse and Mr. Levasseur never lost sight of the daily's mission, which its teams are fully behind: making free journalistic content available to all of Québec.

"Everyone needs access to reliable, verified sources."

After these reflections, La Presse decided to make a new push toward a philanthropic business model. Since 2019, close to $13 million has been raised from over 65,000 donors. La Presse is committed to reinvesting these profits in pursuing its mission.

In line with this new vision, Mr. Levasseur also announced to the Chamber the creation of the La Presse Reserve Fund to ensure the organization's sustainability.

"100% of the funds go back into our journalistic mission."

In conclusion, Mr. Levasseur thanked the many donors and pointed to the role of the readers, employees, and unions of La Presse, who rose to the challenge of this ambitious endeavour and without whom the success of this major shift would not have been possible.

 

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