Reform of the “Bichet Act”: adapting to the print media sector’s new issues and challenges, while maintaining its founding principles
At a time when digital distribution is becoming increasingly prevalent, of steadily decreasing circulation figures and the attrition of point of sale networks, the report from the mission assigned to Mr Marc Schwartz, which the Government made public in July 2018, recommended revising certain aspects of the way print media are organised, and that its regulation be strengthened by assigning that responsibility to a single regulator that would be given increased powers in this area. To this end, it recommended that the responsibility for regulating the print media distribution sector be assigned to an independent authority with sufficient legal, economic and technical expertise, and which has the means to perform efficient oversight, while endowing it with proven powers and instruments.
Put forward by the Minister for Culture, Franck Riester, the Law on the modernisation of print media distribution, which reforms the “Bichet Act” was enacted today. It confirms the fundamental principles that govern print media, while also introducing new structural provisions for the sector.
Arcep accepts this new responsibility and its challenges, with a commitment to making readers’ interests its core impetus
The responsibility of regulating the print media sector – which had previously been assigned to the Regulatory authority for press distribution (ARDP) and the High Council of press distribution (CSMP) – has now been assigned to Arcep. Arcep thus becomes the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications, Postal Affairs and Print Media Distribution (l’Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques, des postes et de la distribution de la presse). For the sake of simplicity, it will continue to be called “Arcep”, with the final “p” now encompassing both postal affairs and print media distribution.
Arcep salutes the tremendous work done by the ARDP and CSMP, and their unfailing dedication. Arcep is committed to making readers’ interests its core tenet, to ensure that they have broad access to a diverse and high quality print media, at an affordable price.
A first meeting of the sector’s stakeholders at Arcep’s offices on 21 November
Being keen to meet with and establish a dialogue with sector’s various stakeholders, Arcep will be hosting a meeting at its offices 21 November. This first meeting will provide an opportunity to listen to stakeholders’ needs and expectations by engaging in a wide-ranging discussion, addressing the core issues at hand for print media distribution, and identifying each and every one’s priorities. It will also provide Arcep with a chance to share the first courses of actions it plans to initiate with the stakeholders.
The sector’s players can already make contact with the Arcep department in charge of print media distribution, by sending an e-mail to: distribution-presse(@)arcep.fr. To keep up with the latest news from Arcep regarding print media distribution, stakeholders can also sign up for the dedicated mailing list in the News section on Arcep’s website.
 Act of 2 April 1947 on the status of newspaper and periodical bulk mailing and distribution enterprises
- Interview with Arcep Chair, Sébastien Soriano, with La Correspondance de la presse: “Distribution de la presse : le président de l’Arcep, Sébastien Soriano, invite les acteurs de la filière à se réunir le 21 November”
- Act No. 2019-1063 of 18 October 2019 on the modernisation of print media distribution