07:32 AM

A Top French Radio Station Comes To Silicon Valley Looking For Ideas

Earlier this week I met with Alexandre Bompard, head of Europe1, the second largest radio station in France, with 12 million daily listeners. Mr Bompard is visiting Silicon Valley as a guest of Orange Telecom, the French telecommunications giant.

Over the past few years, Mr Bompard and his team have managed to turn around what was a struggling radio business into one of the top radio stations in France, by going back to basics: news, sports, story telling.

He will be visiting with various Silicon Valley companies and also journalism schools at Stanford university and University of California at Berkeley. The goal is to try and prepare the company for the changes in media.

Here are some notes from our conversation:

- There isn't much online advertising happening in France because there aren't any online sites that get more than 5 million unique views a month.

- Europe1 site gets about 2 million unique views a month.

- Europe1 has its own iPhone application that allows people to listen to podcasts.

- It has 4 million podcast downloads a month in France plus another 1 million from other countries.

- It is only recently that an independent traffic monitoring agency has started to offer web site traffic numbers. This will help online advertising.

- Europe1 is also producing video of its radio interviews, etc.

- A lot of Europe1 staff come from TV.

- It's interesting that ten years into the Internet revolution we still have very few leading companies (Google.)

- There is more 'mass media' in France than here.

- There are no good examples of US media companies making the change to new media.

- Advertising revenues were down about 9 per cent last year in France for all media. But this is due to the economy rather than a shift to online advertising because there aren't that many large online sites.

- Mr Bompard is a former executive at French media company Canal Plus.

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