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CONSTANCE BENQUÉ

Chair of Lagardère News and Chief Executive Officer of Lagardère Radio

What where the key highlights of 2022?

“2022 was shaped by a number of major events, including the presidential election in France, the conflict in Ukraine and global energy crisis. Against this backdrop, our news media outlets played an important role in bringing the stories to the public with their reporting and fieldwork, thanks to our talented journalists and their unfailing commitment. In addition, our music radio stations have tirelessly pursued their missions to serve local communities and to present up-and-coming artists.

This year also confirmed the acceleration of digital media, the fragmentation of audiences and the rise of social media. As a result, we have undertaken a far-reaching transformation of our media outlets in order to unite our audiences and build loyalty across our distribution channels. This includes rolling out a new social media strategy at Europe 1 and a complete overhaul of the digital offering of our press titles.

Lastly, we are very proud of our latest developments such as the launch of JDD Magazine – acclaimed by readers and advertisers alike – and the inauguration of the first Maison Elle in the hotel sector.”

Which major CSR initiatives were rolled out in 2022?

“As a media group, we have a special role to play. We therefore acted on this responsibility in July 2022, by signing a climate agreement for our radio stations with the French State and Arcom, the French audiovisual regulator. This was quickly extended to our press titles, a unique voluntary decision in the industry. In practical terms, this contract calls for more responsible advertising,
favourable commercial terms for products with a low environmental impact and the publication of “green” content, while respecting the independence of our editorial staff.

We also stepped up our actions in three key areas: culture and education, philanthropic activities and employee engagement.

All these actions are, of course, measured and monitored in order to assess progress. By the end of 2023, we will have the data required to convert our ambitions into actual targets.”

What is the outlook for 2023?

“The return of the Europe 2 radio station in 2023 reflects our ambition for the “Europe” brand to invest more in music, alongside Europe 1’s non-specialist offering. At a time when the radio industry is under pressure from streaming, Europe 2 intends to stand out with a more trend-setting pop and rock offering, that will in turn enhance RFM’s music positioning. We are also going to significantly increase investment in digital, particularly on the content side at Europe 1, so that it can leverage the success of our podcasts and growing social media footprint.

Le Journal du Dimanche will also continue to expand, particularly in terms of digital subscriptions, while Paris Match will maintain its coverage of major news events and exemplary photography, which remains its domain of predilection.

In addition, Elle International will press ahead with bringing its media licencing network together around shared editorial projects, and with the publication of new international editions of Elle and Elle Décoration. The non-media business will be stepped up with the opening of new cafés around the world and numerous launches in the beauty, fashion, home decoration and service sectors.

Lastly, 2023 will be the year in which our new organisational structure will take shape, with the expansion of flexible office arrangements and the continuation of remote working.”

2022 overview

Political events, coverage of international conflicts, purchasing power, education, the environment, music, concerts, etc. In 2022, Lagardère News’ media outlets were once again at the forefront of French people’s daily lives and concerns.

Strong performances despite a challenging environment

Changes in listening patterns have had a lasting impact on the radio industry. Audiences of Lagardère News stations are no exception, and listening figures fell compared to 2021. Revenue generated by the unit’s radio stations, correlated with the number of listeners and advertising rates, was nonetheless above forecasts, as was their performance in the digital sector. Each month, 51% of French people aged 13 and over listened to the news and entertainment programmes of Europe 1, RFM and Europe 2, i.e., a total of 28 million listeners(1). It was also a record year for Europe 1 podcasts, with 192 million downloads in 2022, up 19% versus 2021(2). This success was led by Christophe Hondelatte, who once again recorded France’s most popular storytelling podcast.

Similarly, in a lacklustre market, the press brands recorded good advertising performances with, in particular, record revenue these past two years for Le Journal du Dimanche and fast expansion in
the luxury sector. As the market leader in news magazines, Paris Match reached 10.6 million readers each month in print and digital(3) formats and generated robust sales for issues such as the Elizabeth II special edition, as well as outstanding reporting on the situations in Ukraine and Iran together with the efforts of French fire fighters in July 2022. Le Journal du Dimanche, one of the most influential newspapers in France, enjoyed a readership of 4.9 million each month across all of its distribution channels(3).

New growth drivers supported by successful launches

In 2022, the Press unit’s offering was expanded with the launch of JDD Magazine, which complements the weekly edition of Le Journal du Dimanche. The inaugural issue of this new kind of monthly literary and investigative publication sold over 90,000 copies.

In addition, the Elle brand continued to expand with new editions of Elle Décoration in Brazil, Canada and Korea, and Elle Gourmet in Canada, the inauguration of an Elle Café in Phuket and the Elle
Decor concept store in Milan, as well as the launch of the C3 Elle car in partnership with Citroën in Europe. Elle has also become the first media brand to position itself in the hotel sector with Elle Hospitality and the opening of the first Maison Elle in Paris, the first of several dozen to be launched worldwide in the years to come.

(1) Médiamétrie EAR National; 13 years and older; Monday-Sunday, 5 a.m.-midnight; Europe 1, Europe 2 and RFM; September-October 2022; cumulative audience.
(2) Médiamétrie eStat Podcast; Europe 1; 2022 versus 2021.
(3) ACPM One Next 2022 S2/ACPM Brand One Next Global 2022 S2.