“The Local has identified France as a key market – the heart of Europe is a natural next step after Germany,” Paul O’Mahony, editor of thelocal.fr, told The Local.
Since its successful 2008 expansion to Germany, The Local has been focused on bringing its brand of local, online English-language news to other countries.
“It has been the plan from the start, when [CEO] Paul Rapacioli and [managing editor] James Savage set up The Local in Sweden seven years ago, to cover news from other countries in Europe,” said O’Mahony.
According to Savage, The Local targeted France for the company’s current round of expansion in part because the country isn’t well-served by the English language news media.
“We also always had France as a target for our next step because it’s not just politically but culturally so important in Europe and it’s a focus of so much interest and attention,” he added.
At first, The Local’s French edition will feature a somewhat scaled-down version of the offerings currently available on the more fully-developed Swedish and German sites.
However, the focus on news that matters to foreign professionals and expats that has been the hallmark of Sweden’s other sites will remain the same.
“People will be able to go onto the French site and feel that it is very much, The Local,” said Savage.
“The main point is that it’s going to have the same ethos and the same focus on news and practical information for foreigners.”
And with time, the content available on The Local’s French edition is certain to expand, according to Savage.
“Over the course of the next year the amount of material we’re producing will increase, in line with an increase in readership,” he said.
With the launch of its French site, The Local is getting closer to its goal of reaching English-speaking foreign professionals across Europe.
“The plan was always to expand and set up sites across Europe, with companies such as Almi Invest helping to make that possible,” O’Mahony explained, referring to a group of seven Swedish regional venture capital funds that helped support The Local’s current round of expansion.
According to O’Mahony, The Local is preparing to roll out to more European countries in the “next weeks and months”.
“We will have several more by the end of this year,” he said.
“Norway and Belgium are next.”
The Local was founded in 2004 by Rapacioli and fellow Brit James Savage and is based in Stockholm. The company is owned by the founders, Sjätte AP-fonden, IQube, Almi Invest, and a number of private investors.