1. Presentation of the Strategic Press Development Fund
The Strategic Fund for the Development of the Press (FSDP) supports, through direct state aid, a wide variety of projects of press companies: projects representing an innovation, increasing their productivity or improving and diversifying the editorial form, as well as projects ensuring the influence of the French press in francophone countries.
The Strategic Fund for Press Development (FSDP) was created by decree no. 2012-484 of 13 April 2012.
Decree No. 2020-1552 of 9 December 2020 on the reform of the Strategic Fund for Press Development amended certain rules for the allocation of aid.
Since 2014, the management of the WSP has been renovated, simplified and unified. The Directorate-General for Media and Cultural Industries continues to monitor all previous aid files from the former Modernization Assistance Fund, the former SPEL Fund and the Strategic Fund before its reform.
The WSP provides grants to projects of online press services, print publishing companies and news agencies that meet a number of criteria.
Decisions on the allocation of aid are taken by the Minister of Culture.
Project of more than 150 000 euros
For applications requesting aid of €150,000 or more, award decisions are taken after an opinion of a steering committee bringing together, in addition to representatives of public administrations, representatives of the main professional organisations of publishers and news agencies and qualified personalities.
Project under 150,000 euro: simplified procedure
Projects with a grant application of less than €150,000 are subject to a specific review procedure. The Directorate-General for Media and Cultural Industries investigates files, decides on requests and draws up the convention.
To be eligible for WSP support, a project must be supported by one or more press companies (online press services, print publications, news agencies). In all cases, they must have been recognised by the Joint Commission for Publications and News Agencies (CPPAP) at the time of the project review. For more information on CPPAP recognition, click here.
Projects eligible for Fund support include:
- online press services recognized in CPPAP published in French, in a regional language, or in a foreign language if their content is likely to contribute to the influence of French thought. These online press services must have a political and general information character recognized by the CPPAP, or provide regular information and comments on the national and international news of all sports disciplines, or develop professional information or promote access to knowledge and training, the dissemination of thought, the debate of ideas, general culture and scientific research. To be eligible, projects must be directly linked to either making editorial content available to the public or, where they are not linked to making editorial content available to the public, marketing innovations aimed at increasing advertising or subscription revenues essential to the economic balance of the online press service;
- press agencies listed in Article 1 of the Ordinance of 2 November 1945;
- press companies publishing publications recognized by CPPAP, and recognized by it as political and general information. In order to do so, the conditions laid down in Article D. 19-2 of the French Postal and Electronic Communications Code must be fulfilled (for daily and weekly newspapers) and, for publications of other periodicities, the conditions laid down in Article 1-1 of Decree no. 86-616 or the conditions provided for in b) of Article 2 of Decree no. 2004-1312 of 26 November 2004;
- News companies publishing at least one daily publication recognized in CPPAP and regularly providing information and comments on the national and international news of all sports disciplines;
- News companies publishing at least one free printed publication of political and general information, at a maximum weekly frequency, meeting the conditions laid down in Article 72 of Annex III to the General Tax Code, with the exception of its 4°.
Projects by online press services, news agencies and press companies are not eligible where public funding is a decisive factor in their financing, with the exception of those submitted by private non-profit organisations.
La naof aid paid
Aid under the Fund takes the form of grants and repayable advances. The publisher may apply for a grant, a repayable advance, or a grant and repayable advance.
The montant aid
For each project submitted to the WSF, subject to the exceptions specified below, the grant is limited to 40% of eligible expenses. This rate is exceptionally increased to 50% under the "France relance" plan for all applications submitted before September 6, 2022, and within the limits of available appropriations.
The amount of aid that may be granted to an eligible publication or online press service project is capped at EUR 1.5 million per project. The amount of aid that may be granted to an eligible news agency project is capped at €600,000.
The total amount of aid granted in the same year to the same company may not exceed 10 % of the amount of the Fund’s allocation.
The total amount of aid granted in the course of a year to a company, its subsidiaries and its controlling subsidiaries (within the meaning of Articles L. 233-1 and L.233-3 of the French Commercial Code) may not exceed 15 % of the amount of the Fund’s allocation.
The amount of the grant granted is set at 60% (70% under the "France relance" plan) maximum eligible expenditure for:
- projects that represent an innovation for the sector;
- projects submitted for publications which have benefited, in the year preceding the application, from the aid for national publications of political and general information with low advertising resources established by the aforementioned decree of 12 March 1986;
- projects submitted for publications which have benefited, in the year preceding the application, from aid to regional, departmental and local dailies for political and general information with low resources of classifieds instituted by the aforementioned decree of 28 July 1989;
- projects submitted by small and medium-sized enterprises within the meaning of Decree no. 2008-1354 of the 18 December 2008 mentioned above that employ less than 25 people;
- Projects submitted by ultra-marine publishers without restriction of the number of titles in the territory (to favour, where possible, the «collective» project).
The amount of the grant granted is set at 70% (80% under the "France relance" plan) maximum eligible expenditure for projects submitted by emerging companies employed less than 25 persons and under 3 years
A collective project must be supported by three eligible companies or two eligible companies if they are located overseas.
In accordance with article 13, paragraph 7, of decree no. 2012-484 of 13 April 2012, as amended, collective projects may be submitted by a company, an association, a professional union, an economic interest group or any other legal structure having received a mandate from at least three news agencies or companies publishing printed publications or online press services meeting the criteria for benefiting from this fund and having no capital link between them.
The amount of the grant shall be fixed at a maximum of 70 % of eligible expenditure and the amount of the advance shall be fixed at a maximum of 70 % of eligible expenditure.
The amount of the grant that may be granted is capped at EUR 1 million for each of the publishing companies involved in a collective project. This amount is set at €400,000 per agency participating in a collective project.
The aid allocated to a collective project may not exceed 20 % of the amount of the Fund’s endowment.
An 80% rate also benefits collective projects, representing an innovative character for the press sector, and whose objective is to promote the ecological transition.
In accordance with Article 13, paragraph 8, of Decree No. 2012-484 of 13 April 2012 as amended, joint projects may be submitted by a company acting on behalf of the controlling company or one or more companies it controls within the meaning of Article L. 233-3 of the commercial code. Unlike collective projects, joint dossiers do not benefit from an increased rate of aid.
In accordance with the reformed rules of the Strategic Fund, the following expenses are taken into account, on the basis of their amount excluding taxes, in so far as they are linked to the project and strictly necessary for the completion of the project-In the case of on-line press services directly linked to the provision of editorial content to the public in accordance with the criteria referred to in Article 1 of the Law of 1er August 1986 above:
- capital expenditure intangible investments, intangible investments, tangible investments, operations enabling the production of digital content or the digitisation of content, real estate work directly related to the project;
- operating expenses : rental for the first five years, studies, research and development and advisory measures, vocational training measures and other external expenditure directly related to the project, studies or surveys to prepare the investment, promotion measures, salary expenses directly related to computer development tasks or investments enabling the provision of digital content, and for the only French-speaking countries where access to the French press is limited by the standard of living, actions aimed at the development of the French press abroad.
For the only projects submitted by small and medium-sized enterprises within the meaning of Decree no. 2008-1354 of 18 December 2008, which employ less than 25 persons and whose registration date is less than three years from the time of the submission of the complete application for a grant or advance, the salary expenses directly related to the editorial design, for the project alone; the maximum period for taking account of such expenditure shall be limited, from their commitment, to six months.
Eligibility of the online press service
If you have any doubts about the eligibility of your online press service, please contact the FSDP.
It is necessary to specify whether your request will, a priori, be less than or greater than €150,000. If your request is less than €150,000, the eligibility of your online press service will be assessed by DGMIC. For an application exceeding €150,000, the eligibility of the site will be submitted to the opinion of the policy committee.