French paper folds up

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The Independent Online
PARIS - Despite a one-third increase in sales after a price- cut, Le Quotidien announced that it was suspending publication yesterday, writes Julian Nundy.

The small radical newspaper said that the fall in advertising revenues in the national press had proved fatal. It had dropped its price from six francs (about 75p) to four to counter the appearance in January of InfoMatin, a smaller-than-tabloid morning paper which uses the evening newspaper Le Monde's presses and sells at three francs.

When Le Quotidien cut its prices it was struggling to lift its circulation from an unviable 30,000. To break even it needed sales of around 68,000. A year ago the conservative government tried to bolster the print press with an order that newspapers should get priority for advertising from state-owned firms scheduled for privatisation.

Philippe Tesson, Le Quotidien's editor and founder, wrote in the last issue, the paper's 4,554th, that the press needed 'a new order' to regain lost ground. 'A new order would suppose that the national written press had decent operating conditions, recovered its share of the advertising market and regained a sufficient number of readers.' he said.