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The Audiencers’ Festival in Paris according to Marion: the ‘best ofs’ from our event

It was Friday, September 22nd that we held our very first Festival in Paris. Over 200 digital publishing professionals from titles across the country and abroad gathered in Le Parisien's auditorium, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, to share expertise, insights and best practices

But that wasn't all...

It was also an incredible day celebrating The Audiencers' community with those that have made it possible. The whole day was a buzz of conversation as professionals working in audience development at press titles from across the country networked from their first coffee in the morning to their glass of wine in the evening!

Here's a few of our “best-ofs” from this brilliant day:

The quote-of-the-day

“It's our interns who know the company best!”

Sophie Cassam, Digital Director at Le Parisien, said at our first panel of the day, “Marketing, editorial and product teams: make love, not war!”.

How do you avoid silos? How do you make sure insights are shared between teams? How do you ensure that everyone is working in the same direction? How can you ensure that everyone knows, understands and facilitates the work of other teams? 

One way of doing this, shared by Laurent Suply, CPO and Director of Operations at Le Figaro, and Sophie Cassam from Le Parisien, is to organize what they call “Vis ma vie à la rédac” (“Live my life as a journalist”) sessions for new recruits in marketing, product and teams to give them an idea of what it's like to be a journalist. 

Team structure at Le Figaro

Laurent Suply, from Le Figaro, also shared a bit about their team's structure, which is divided into two divisions. The ‘Content' team works on the tools used to publish and distribute all types of article (whether editorial or ). Their role is to generate an audience.

Alongside this is a ‘Reader' team, which works on converting anonymous users into paying subscribers, and includes the classic marketing teams, as well as Data and Product Management.

At the Parisien.fr, teams are organized into 3 squads:

  • Audience: with KPIs being visits to news content, visits to non-news and log-in rate 
  • : KPIs are conversion rate and number of subscribers
  • Revenue: focusing on e-commerce and developing CA

The “Apps” squad lies across the audience and subscription teams.

A snippet of the conversation on stage

“Marketing, editorial and product teams: make love, not war”, with CEOs from Le Parisien, Le Figaro and L'Express.

Marion Wyss, moderator: “So what tools do you use at L'Express to coordinate your teams? Messaging systems like Slack or Jira? Copil, Comex or Co-truc meetings?”

Diane Lemoine, Deputy CEO of L'Express: “We just speak to each other! We're all in the same open-space, and I have to admit it's pretty handy!”

The most photographed slides

Sophie Thierry-Clébant is Head of Premium for CMI group, her role being to build up a portfolio of loyal subscribers for ELLE, Marianne and Franc-Tireur titles… so it's fair to say that she has a hefty job! 

Above all, Sophie is a professional with incredible precision and intelligence of which she is unaware, making her not only likable but also highly relevant at these kinds of events, where the pros are sometimes reluctant to reveal their ‘secret sauce'. But not Sophie. And when a giant in the women's sector talks about the other side of its premium strategy, when they're the only ones on the market to have dared to launch a , it's fair to say that the slides certainly won't be forgotten by those in the audience! 

Slide 1: “Premium article visibility”

Sophie shared what percentage of users consume at least 1 premium article per month, a KPI that they follow closely at .fr.

How did they achieve these results? By magic!… no no in fact with a lot (a lot) of work, across various parts of the website, as you can see from the screenshots below.

Slide 2: How to improve the visibility of the paywall

At ELLE.fr, working on paywall visibility has involved many tests on the user journey. For instage, below is a screenshot of their Poool dashboard, where each step represents a premium article. 

  • Strategy at the beginning: 2 premium articles for free, the 3rd article is blocked by an optional registration wall before a hard paywall (without an alternative option) blocks the 4th. 
  • Today: newsletter subscription is mandatory to access the first premium article, then subscription required at the second

The figure-of-the-day

35% of L'Équipe's total audience is logged. And on the app, it's 50%.”

It was Emmanuel Alix, Digital Director of the famous daily sports newspaper, who stunned our afternoon audience with this fact that would turn any CRM director pale. More than a third of audiences (83 million visitors in August 2023) are known and logged, i.e. L'Équipe has important data points – a first name, surname, email address, etc – can track cross-device behavior and doesn't need to find out what content readers consume.

The benchmark that hurt a little

Julia was afraid to get up on stage and speak in French. Originally from Brazil, and multilingual to a level that would make any Frenchman swoon, Julia dazzled everyone by coming up with figures that no one else had: an exclusive benchmark of audiences around the world, including Northern Europe and France.

Session duration. Audiences everywhere are on the decline, but it's worth noting that the Europeans are the worst of them all…

Audience structure according to frequency of visit. The figure is very different between in Northern Europe, where ‘Loyal' readers account for almost 50% of media audiences, while ‘Returning' readers account for only 25% of audience (see curves below).

In France, audiences are clearly less engaged, with around 35% being Loyal and Returning Users, and a higher proportion of New Visitors than elsewhere in Europe, at nearly 20%.

The best anecdote for sounding smart in meetings

Madeleine White, Head of International at Poool and editor of the English version of The Audiencers, rounded off our morning with a review of best practice in the international media. There were plenty of takeaways from this session – slides available here – but what we will remember in particular is the opening anecdote, which many digital teams might recall before embarking on costly developments.

In the 1960s, the space race was in full swing as the US and USSR rushed to build the best spacecraft for taking men to the moon. But there was one problem that appeared fairly minor but needed some thinking to resolve – pens didn't work in space. To solve this, the Americans spent millions of dollars and plenty of time and resources in developing “the space pen”, a pen that could work in zero-gravity, underwater, upside down…  

In the USSR? Well they faced the same problem, but their solution was… a pencil. Something they already had at their disposal. It met the same needs, but with zero investment.

The moral of this (not 100% true) story is that tunnel vision hurts… If publishers look elsewhere for inspiration, continue to step out of their silos, they may well save tens of thousands of dollars, time and resources.

The session to listen to again (if you speak French that is)

The famous Mediarama podcast, produced by our friends at Cosa Vostra, was a partner of this first Audiencers' festival. And it was François Defossez, podcast host, who led the first panel session of the afternoon. You can listen to the recording here.

The emotion of ‘the first'

10 conferences, nearly 20 speakers. I think I overdid it a little with the programme density for this first edition.

150 seats in the auditorium, 600 requests for access. I think I overdid it a little on the communication.

2 things in particular worried me prior to this event: 

  • Punctuality: I had announced that the event would start at 8.45am sharp. At 8.46am, the stage manager approaches the stage where I've been waiting like an embarrassed peg for far too long for my liking: an amp has broken. But don't worry, it'll be fine. Not right away, but it will
  • Attendance: I didn't have the heart to turn away 450 people. So we only turned away 300… which meant that the auditorium was a little full at certain times of the day, and the no-show rate was estimated at 30%

A total of 222 media professionals were present on the day, including teams from : 1health, AFP, , Altice Media, Bayard, Beaux Arts & Cie, Bnf-Partenariats, Brief.Me, Brut, CCM Benchmark Group, Challenges, Charlie Hebdo, CMI France, Euronews, France Antilles, France TV, Gens de Confiance, Global Média Santé, Groupe Centre France-La Montagne, Groupe Ebra, Groupe Hubert Burda Média, Groupe L'Express, Groupe La Dépêche du Midi, Groupe Le Monde, Groupe Les Echos Le Parisien, Groupe Marie-Claire, Groupe Profession Santé, Groupe Sud-Ouest, Horyzon Média, Indigo Publications, Infopro Digital, Jeune Afrique Media Group, Kometa, L'équipe, L'express, L'Informé, L'Obs, L'orient-Le Jour, La Tribune, La Vie Du Rail, La Voix Du Nord, Lagardère News, Larousse, Le Canard Enchaîné, Le Figaro, Le Journal Des Entreprises, Le Messager, Le Nouvel Economiste, Le Télégramme, Le Temps, Leparticulier. Fr, Les Belles Images, Les Jours, Libération, M6, Maddyness, Mediafin, Mediapart, Mind Media, Next Radio Tv, Ngpa, Ouest France, Payfit, Podmust, , Prisma Media, Produpress, Publihebdos – Actu.Fr, Pyc Media, Reworld Media, Roularta, RTL, Swile, Tagwalk, Téma Médias, Tip & Shaft, Uni-Médias, Welcome To The Jungle…

…and breathe!

The atmosphere

This was the first major event organized by Poool, and while the temptation to ‘do what everyone else is doing' was strong, we finally opted to stay true to ourselves and offer an event that was ‘not too posh, not too stuffy, not too salesy… In short, not too not us'. Instead of the traditional champagne and petits fours cocktail, we chose to meet in a local bar where we were served what we love: charcuterie, cheese and French wine.

The feedback couldn't have made us happier, especially this message received from Maxime Leroy, VP Product at Politico and moderator of one of the afternoon's panel session:

Thanks to you for your invitation, and as everyone said, for the benevolence that reigned over the programming.”

The friends

Behind these logos are companies that we work with every day, people who are our friends, whose work we value and who wanted to be with us for this day – it's thanks to them that this day has been possible:

  • Arc XP is a developed by The Washington Post, which also powers Le Parisien, L'Express and Libération in France. Their site here. And you can contact Jay M'Bei directly on behalf of the Festival…
  • Chartbeat is an analytics tool used by many newsrooms across the world, one that is well known for the quality of its real-time data. Their website is here. And you can contact Julia Schvartzer directly on behalf of the Festival…
  • Alida is a customer community platform that helps you to better know your targets and inform your marketing decisions. The Bayard, Condé Nast and Reworld Media groups, for example, work with Alida. Their site here. And you can contact Christian Collot directly from the Festival…
  • Shooot is a team of audiovisual professionals who recorded the audio, shot the video and photographed the event throughout the day. Their website is here. And you can contact Laurent Scullino directly on behalf of the Festival…
  • Finally, Mediarama is François Defossez's podcast, one that delves into the heart of the media galaxy to explore innovations and the latest trends.

We'll see you at the next event?

The full roundup: 

- We created a WhatsApp group where all Audiencers can meet up, exchange news, share job offers, jokes and, above all, organize future moments together. To join the French-speaking group, click here
- The slides for the day can be found here
- The full programme for the day is available here
- If you have any suggestions for improvements or things to keep in mind for next year's event, you can write to us here!