French officials announced on Wednesday that the country is to spend millions of euros to provide free newspapers for young people. The move is a desperate bid to boost readership and shore up the struggling print news sector.
Those aged 18 to 24 will get a free daily paper of their choice once a week for a year and a discount subscription later, to "encourage the renewal of readership of the daily press," according to a government statement.
Newspapers worldwide are struggling with plunging revenues as readers migrate to the Internet and mobile telephones to access news. Traditional media groups are fighting to find ways of making online content profitable.
The French plan, presented to the government by Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand, would see the state pay five million euros (7.4 million dollars) over three years to help revive readership of regular print titles.
Newspaper editors involved in the initiative will produce "content adapted to the demands of young readers," the government said.
It added that the idea also aimed to grant young people "access to culture" in the same way as free entry to museums.