PARIS: “Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world,” said Vladimir Lenin. Libération, the French newspaper, is focusing on growing subscriptions to its children’s product, Le P’tit Libération, as young audiences provide an attractive source of future revenue and engagement.

This is according to Digiday, which spoke to the paper’s head of digital, Xavier Grangier. With little marketing, the title has managed to attract 1,000 subscribers since the September launch of the digital/iOS title. Its metred paywall takes advantage of the editorial decision to break down complex stories into six sections, five of which remain subscription only.

With a year-end goal of 5,000 subscribers, the four-person team working on the publication, Le P’tit Libé is not shying away from knotty subjects.

“We want to explain complicated topics like what’s going on in Israel and Palestine to kids,” explained Grangier, “We want new people, new readers, new revenue.”

So far, the core strategy has been to target parents who already read Libération online with display ads. It is planning to bring out TV and digital campaigns later in the year alongside a print edition intended as children’s holiday reading.

However, the process hasn’t been easy. “Everything is more complicated creating something for children – payment processes, app validation, and obviously, the content needs to be easier to understand,” Grangier said, adding the need for it to be separate from the outside world.

Other news magazines have already made the successful leap to a children’s/teens’ edition. Dennis Publishing’s The Week title, for example, distils the British and international media’s interpretations of key stories.

The Week Junior deploys a “curated curiosity,” according to Kerin O'Connor, chief executive, who told the PPA Festival last year “we try to explain news to them in a way that they understand, by breaking it down so they can see who the characters are”  – like a Who’s Who of politics to set the scene for the general election, or an outline of different political systems.

"This is quite big stuff that we're venturing to make work for children,” he said, though there is also scope for giving the people what they want. “We try to put a poo in every issue … That’s very popular with the readers.”

Meanwhile, out-and-out children’s titles have also found that news and current affairs can pique their readers’ interest, as in the case of The Beano, the octogenarian British publication. British kids, it turns out, loathe the 45th President of the United States, said Emma Scott, CEO of Beano Studios, “so he comes up every single week”.

In all cases, the trick is to understand how you can bring value to the news that children want to know about – as is suggested by Libé’s focus on serious stories such as Catalonian independence, Harvey Weinstein and bullying.

Sourced from Digiday, WARC