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Ouest-France Group

Overview

The Rennes-based Ouest-France group claims to be France's largest newspaper publisher and resembles the US Gannett or Knight Ridder chains, although a local model for recycling content through a network of small papers was provided by Bayard from the 1860s onwards. It has magazine, book publishing and minor broadcasting interests.


The group

Overall the group has around 30% of national circulation: further growth is inhibited through legal restrictions on market share.

Ouest-France, the largest of the regional dailies (17 editions with a total circulation of over 800,000) is distributed in 12 departments in the Loire, Brittany and Normandy.

The group's SPIR Communications (acquired in 1991) publishes around 150 free newspapers across France, including Aix Hebdo, Le Galibot and Boum Boum. Individual titles have circulations of up to 440,000. Spir owns and operates about 150 distribution centers, has five printing and 13 pre-press sites and has a multimedia arm.

Studies

There's no major English-language study of the group.

Richard Barbrook's Media Freedom: The Contradictions of Communications in the Age of Modernity (London: Pluto Press 1995) considers the French regulatory environment and media concentration. There's a more detailed account in the five volume Histoire Générale de la Presse Française (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France 1969-1976) by Claude Bellanger, Jacques Godechot, Pierre Guiral & Fernand Terrou. Raymond Kuhn's concise The Media in France (London: Routledge 1995) is also of value.