La Presse introduces a new app, La Presse+, to engage readers in new, innovative ways.

Pierre-Elliott Levasseur, executive vice-president of La Presse in Canada, presented at the 2014 INMA World Congress about the new application that is grasping the attention of younger readers.

“It’s a laidback experience,” Levasseur said. “It’s a device that is very engaging.”

La Presse+ was designed to target a broader range of age groups as the company’s print media only reaches individuals 55 years and older: “Print is the media for baby boomers,” Levasseir said. “Baby boomers are not the market advertisers want to reach today.”

La Presse+ innovatively tells stories by incorporating videos, news stories, and interactive maps for reader activity.

“We thought that the best way to start telling this story is with the video,” Levasseur said. “When people start consuming media this way — first a video, followed by a story, and the interactive map — people stayed engaged with the story.”

Ninety-three percent of users actually enjoyed the “swipe” feature, he said. This lead to La Presse establishing a more efficient way to navigate the page.

The app doesn’t have a navigation bar, Lavesseur said. Readers do not have to utilise search engines such as Google and Bing to connect to links and advertisements displayed on La Presse+.

“We’ve been more people-focused” since the launch of the app, Lavesseur said. Readership has greatly increased as a result of the La Presse+ app.

La Presse spent nearly US$40 million in the past three years to develop the La Presse+ application, an investment that is seeing a return on investment: “Seventy-four percent of La Presse+ tablet readers were not readers of the La Presse newspaper at the time the application was launched.”

A company with 300 journalists in just one newsroom, La Presse continues to search for innovative ways to create new ways to engage readers. 

The key is to target all age groups, according to Lavesseur: “Web sites are not the strategy to replace newspapers or print.”

“We don’t produce this once a month,” he said, referring to the work published on the La Presse app. “We produce it every single day.”