“Society” passes the milestone of 200 issues and displays a success against the current
To the first publication of “Society”, on March 6, 2015, “we were not given three weeks”, recalls its founder, Franck Annese. “Today, it’s been eight years,” adds the boss of the So Press group. And 200 numbers.
Instant success, the fortnightly, which has made the triptych “humor, history, human” its editorial line, has firmly established itself in the media landscape. Its paid circulation exceeds 45,000 average copies in 2022, according to the CMPA. A figure equivalent to the levels reached in 2018 and 2019, although below 2021 and above all an exceptional 2020 vintage, driven by the “Dupont de Ligonnès” phenomenon. In the summer of 2020, the two issues devoted to the case, the fruit of five years of investigation, had torn off a total of 450,000 copies.
The “vinyl” of the press
To explain readership, Frank Annese evokes the “very singular” tone of the newspaper and its positioning. “There was a lack of a society magazine aimed at an audience that is not 55 or 60 years old”, slips the publisher of this title which appeals to thirty-somethings, of whom about 60% are women. Audacity, flair, the quality of the narration and the investigations did the rest and enabled the success of this bet on a paper newspaper, at a time of digitization of the sector.
“When you make paper magazines that are read and appreciated, you manage to get back on your feet, whereas with a site, it’s not easy to be profitable, you have to invest a lot,” judge Franck Annese. The Society’s website is a showcase for articles in the current issue. This does not prevent the digitalization of sales. Digital versions – PDFs for individual sale or by subscription – now account for 52% of paid circulation, according to the CMPA.
Franck Annese compares the success of “Society” to that of vinyl record, which has known a return to grace over the past ten years, parallel to the expansion of music streaming platforms. Its young, urban target continues to buy magazines, while newsmagazines with broader targets suffer.
With a management that he describes as “father of the family”, the founder of the So Press group, of which he is the main shareholder with 31% of the shares, makes sure to stay in the green. “Society” is profitable, as is So Press. In this SME of 150 full-time equivalent people and around 25 million euros in annual turnover, the press generates half of the income. The company publishes, among other things, the monthly “So foot”, but also “So Film” on cinema, ” The label “ on men’s fashion (a women’s version will be launched at the end of April), “Tsugi” on the music, or “Pedal”, on cycling.
The production of advertising films, feature films and series provides the other half of the receipts. Released in the fall, So Press’ first feature film, “Medusa”, won several awards. The director’s second film, Sophie Levy, is in the pipeline. Three series are in development, including one on the “Dupont de Ligonnès” affair.
Despite these many projects, the group has no growth target. “The main thing is that it’s profitable,” says its founder. A guarantee of independence. No question of being redeemed. “Perhaps it is we who will one day buy a large press group? launches Franck Annese, but it will not be the other way around. »