69% of press readings today are digital, of which 48% are mobile. The rise of the online press has led to the definition of its contours by law in 2009. Whether linked to a print or stand-alone press title, news sites may be officially recognized as "online press services", subject to compliance with the conditions of this recognition. The request for recognition should be sent to the Ministry of Culture.

Presentation of the device

What is an online press service?

The quality of online press service is granted to online press media. It constitutes professional recognition and allows, under certain conditions, access to direct aids and indirect benefits.

The law of 12 June 2009 promoting the dissemination and protection of creation on the Internet has made it possible to lay the foundations of a specific legal and economic regime for online press services, whether they are sites linked to a print press title or all-online news sites.

The online press service is defined by Article 1 of the Law of 1 August 1986 reform of the legal regime of the press. It must meet several criteria:An Online Press Service is any professionally edited online public communication service by a natural or legal person who has editorial control of its content, consisting of the production and provision to the public of original content, Information of general interest, regularly renewed, consisting of news-related information which has been the subject of journalistic processing and which is not a promotional tool or an accessory to an industrial or commercial activity.

Objectives of the approach

The aim of this initiative is to register the Online Press Services (SPEL) on the registers of the Joint Commission on Publications and News Agencies. This quality allows access to the economic regime of the press.

Under certain conditions, direct aids, some of which are granted by the Ministry of Culture, are accessible to SPEL recognized by the CPPAP (Strategic Fund for the Development of the Press, Support for the Pluralism of Online Press Services). Indirect benefits, including tax benefits, may be granted to online press services.

Registration on the CPPAP lists is a condition of access to the economic and fiscal regime of the press. It provides a number of specific advantages:

  • exemption from the territorial economic contribution (former business tax);
  • a reduced VAT rate of 2.1% on sales of online news content; access to the benefit of the investment provision reserved to companies operating an online press service devoted largely to general political information or to online press services developing professional or promoting information access to knowledge and training and dissemination of thought, debate of ideas, general knowledge and scientific research. This benefit is limited to acquisitions strictly necessary to operate the service;    
  • the application of the deduction on social contributions and professional expenses of journalists;    
  • access (with conditions) to the Strategic Press Development Fund (FSDP) (grants to support digital development) or to support for the pluralism of all online press services.

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A question?

If you have any questions about the recognition of an online press service, please contact the Joint Commission on Publications and News Agencies (CPPAP) by e-mail at: spel.cppap@culture.gouv.fr or by phone at 01 40 15 38 03.