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Once troubled French weekly sees surging sales following terror attacks

Once troubled French weekly sees surging sales following terror attacks

Posted February. 27, 2015 07:19,   


Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly newspaper that went under a terrorist attack by Muslim extremists last month, has emerged as a symbol of the media defending the freedom of expression‍.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Charlie Hebdo`s sales have surged since the attack, transforming the weekly "from a financially troubled niche journal to a global brand enriched by tragedy."

According to the Journal, the weekly published an average of about 60,000 copies weekly before the attack. Although the tragedy cost the lives of eight of Charlie Hebdo`s staff members, including its chief editor, its circulation is on a sharp rise amid global support of the values of freedom of the press. In particular, the company sold more than 8 million copies of the special edition published by the surviving staff a week after the attack, raking in 12 million euros (13.6 million U.S. dollars) after printing and distribution expenses. It has also attracted 250,000 new subscribers each paying roughly 100 euros (113 dollars) for a year, and received around 4 million euros (4.5 million dollars) in donations.

Although the surging sales are slowing down as time goes on, the French weekly still maintains circulations that were unimaginable before the attack. It published 2.5 million copies of its latest edition dated February 25, more than 40 times of the previous average of 60,000 copies.

Ironically, the company`s revenues increased every time it was embroiled in controversies over its satirical caricatures. When it reprinted Danish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that had sparked violent protests in 2006, Charlie Hebdo came under criticism from the Islamic world but saw its profits nearly doubled from the previous year. After seeing red ink in 2010, it earned 655,000 euros (743,619 dollars) in profit in 2011 amid controversies over another Prophet Muhammad caricature, for which its headquarters was bombed with a Molotov cocktail.

However, the company has faced great challenges. Hiring and retaining staff is becoming difficult, with violent threats continuing. Some staff members live under round-the-clock protection by armored policemen, while the company plans to strengthen its security facilities. There are also conflicts over the use of the unexpected profits. The newspaper has decided to give all the donations it has received to the victims` families.