’It’s always good for sales to be in opposition.’ So says the
French right-wing daily, Le Figaro, which claims that since the left’s
victory in the elections last June, sales have been running at around
385,000, up from an official 1996 average of 368,109.
Le Figaro has been around since the last century and is considered a
serious news vehicle, describing itself as a paper for the elite. If you
read Le Figaro, you could be among the 8 per cent of the wealthiest
French people. About a third of its million-and-a-half readers fall into
the AB or AB+ category, and live in a household where earnings are
higher than Fr320,000 per year.
More than two-thirds of the heads of households where Le Figaro is read
hold a management-level post, and some 50 per cent work in top
However, the downside is that its readers tend to be older, with more
than 32 per cent over 65 years old, while the next biggest age group, at
21.5 per cent, is between 50 and 64 year olds.
Part of Le Figaro’s appeal for decision-makers is the daily salmon-pink
economic tabloid which, on Mondays, carries some 60 pages of job ads
ranging from vacancies for hotel staff to international directors. Other
supplements and special features (investment, books, sports, multimedia
and what’s-on) appear on different days of the week.
On Saturday, however, Le Figaro comes into its own. It is the only
French daily to offer extra weekend reading in the form of the glossy
supplements, Le Figaro Magazine, Madame Figaro and TV Magazine, which
boost circulation for that day to an average of 500,000.
Advertising sales account for 60 per cent of the paper’s revenues, and
Le Figaro says since the slump of 1991, ad sales have been increasing
Age group readers (000s) % of all high-
under 25 77 14.6
25-34 59 11.3
35-49 148 28.2
50-64 134 25.6
over 65 107 20.4
OCCUPATION (HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD)
Agriculture, trades etc 39 7.4
Company directors 71 13.4
Management 197 37.4
Professionals 70 13.4
Intermediary professionals 23 4.4
Unskilled workers 5 0.9
Unsalaried/retired 122 23.1