How the magazine “XXI” wants to relaunch

How the magazine “XXI” wants to relaunch

Another chapter opens for the review of reports “XXI”. Led by a new editorial team since last September, this quarterly launched in 2008 which led to the emergence in France of the “mook” format – magazine book, between the magazine and the book – multiplies the projects, in particular digital, to regain momentum.

With today between 8,000 and 12,000 copies sold on average in bookstores (19 euros each) and 8,000 paper subscriptions, its distribution has eroded in recent years. “The XXI brand is very popular, but is not so well known, we would like to bring it to a wider audience”, indicates the editor-in-chief appointed last September, Elsa Fayner.

Podcasts with Pascale Clark

For this, several series of podcast, presented by the radio journalist Pascale Clark, were launched in February, in order to accompany each publication and “to occupy the ground between two issues, spaced three months apart”, specifies Elsa Fayner. In association with specialized producers,, the “XXI” team has thus designed four formats: an exclusive documentary series, the backstage of a report told by one of the journalists, the reading of an article by an actor and an interview.

Always to capitalize on the link with its readers, XXI is also deployed in bookshop, with the recent launch of a collection of small books, “XXI bis”, each book of which, sold for 9 euros, contains a long report, followed by an interview. “XXI” plans to publish 4 to 6 per year.

While maintaining the recipe that has made it successful, with a strong emphasis on long formats, stories and reports, the magazine itself slightly changes the angles of its subjects, so that its stories can go beyond the observation stage, sometimes fatalistic. “During the survey that we conducted with our readers, the pessimistic side was a little singled out. Our readers tell us to continue to tell the world as it is, but not to leave them powerless”, summarizes Elsa Fayner.

Conversion to digital

Finally, “XXI”, long a symbol of the resistance of paper to the web, is finally converting to it, by launching digital subscriptions from next April (49 euros for 4 issues, as well as a “low budget” formula at 30 euros). They will provide access to the journal via a dedicated smartphone application or by online reading via an internet browser. Paper subscribers will all have access to the online version.

With these various projects, “XXI” hopes “to get closer to equilibrium in 2023 and start to be profitable in 2024”, according to management. The review comes a long way. In 2018, the failed launch of the weekly “Ebdo” had led to the compulsory liquidation of the publishing company of “XXI” and “6 Months”, Rollin Publications, and its takeover by the company F & S (publisher of “La Revue Dessinée” and “Topo”) and Le Seuil.

The recovery initiated by the new shareholders was hampered by the Covid crisis, distribution problems and then the soaring price of paper, which have slowed down the return to equilibrium, specifies the management of “XXI”.

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