Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dear France: You're Doing It Wrong

Anyone who runs a satire site knows that it is not exactly a road to riches. On the contrary, if you're in it for the money, then you're in the wrong business. Likewise, everyone knows that newspapers are dropping like flies as well, to the point where Congress is vaguely sort of thinking about whether to do anything about it. So is French satire site Bakchich doing the right thing by jumping from the internet to a newsstand near you (assuming you happen to live in France)?

The website is doing so because, to absolutely no one's surprise, the website can't turn a profit despite being a pretty major outfit, with all the bells and whistles a site can offer, a deep bench of sharp-witted writers, and a target audience that is much more receptive to satire as a legitimate form of public discourse than Americans. However, while there are several American humor sites that publish hard-copy versions (e.g. The Onion, Recoil Magazine, Derf, etc.) these all started out as regional real-life newspapers which branched out online. The valid business model came first, in other words.

Bakchich is at least getting some good publicity for the move, which may help. It's worth watching to see how things work out, and to learn whether, as Bakchich claims, "L'écrit sauvera l'écran".

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