The Éditions de L'Avenir Presse are tightening their belts!

The extraordinary works council of Editions of L’Avenir Presse it took place on the morning of Thursday 28 September. Management wanted to share its concerns and intentions with staff representatives. He wants to ensure the profitability, DNA and sustainability of the company over the next 3 years and well beyond.

Progress made and results in 2022

Since its resumption in 2021 by the IPM Group, the company has made progress at all levels in terms of IT systems, editorial content and digital marketing. This made it possible to increase the market share on the Internet from 6 to 9% and modernize the company. Despite the efforts of all staff, they are currently not producing sufficient results to secure their future.

The dynamics of the French-speaking Belgian press market are complicated

The French-speaking daily press market is small and extremely competitive. In terms of size it is 3 times smaller than that of Flanders.

The reasons are:

  • French media consumption
  • Lack of interest of citizens in public affairs
  • Unfair competition from subsidized free media
  • Reading index one of the lowest in Europe
  • Importance of GAFAM in the advertising market

Considering recent regression trends, the disappearance of paper is a certainty within 5-10 years. The future will be digital but this market is less profitable than the paper one. Developing new markets takes time to generate revenue.

Mission, ambition and priorities

The IPM Group’s ambition is to become the leading media group in French-speaking Belgium. And that the Editions de L’Avenir Presse are the first Walloon media. To do this, they will implement innovative strategies to retain and grow their audience, monetize this audience, and diversify into new sources of revenue.

In achieving this goal, they remain particularly committed to maintaining L’Avenir’s values ​​of proximity and solidarity within the communities that lead it.

The profitability needs we must meet

To ensure the sustainability of the company, they must achieve an operating profit of 6%. This level allows you to meet commitments and transform your company in the digital world.

A certain number of realistic hypotheses were therefore formulated on the evolution of costs and revenues in light of the recent market trends currently being experienced (regression of paper and progression of digital); as well as cost forecasts. All cost items and all possible savings were analysed. Unfortunately, this work leads to a largely loss-making result by 2026 and does not guarantee digital conversion and the development of new markets.

An unfortunately necessary plan

The company currently has 192 FTEs. To ensure the digital diffusion of the company, at the end of the 2023-2026 period it is necessary to reach a workforce of 171 people, which corresponds to 21 exits, of which 8 towards retirement.

Without a doubt, it is possible to achieve this by simplifying processes and automating a large number of low-value-added activities in the company. Recent technological advances should make this simplification and automation possible. Staffed worksites are established to implement these new processes in the organization.

The intention is obviously to avoid direct dismissals as much as possible and to encourage voluntary departures on the basis of double volunteering. They are also open to all legislative possibilities aimed at mitigating the impact on employment (CCT104, early retirement, etc.).

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