Friday, January 23, 2009

France Expands Its Financial Support for Newspapers

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France announced new financial aid for the country’s newspapers on Friday, but stopped short of the overhaul that analysts say is needed to revitalize the sector.

Mr. Sarkozy promised a variety of aid, including tax breaks for delivery services. In an effort to help newspapers through the recession, Mr. Sarkozy said the government would double the amount of advertising it did in print and online newspapers.

“It is the state’s primary responsibility to respond to an emergency,” he said, “and there is an emergency caused by the impact of the collapse of advertising revenue.”

The French government’s support, which totals about 280 million euros, or $362 million, a year, would be increased by about 200 million euros a year for three years under Mr. Sarkozy’s plan.

The proposal included one unusual measure aimed at attracting young people to newspapers: giving 18-year-olds free subscriptions to the printed publication of their choice. The program would to be financed jointly by the government and publishers.

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