Their joint service, AFP-Relaxnews, has existed since 2009 in both English and French as the “first newswire dedicated to leisure and lifestyle.” It runs on a subscription basis whereby news-based companies pay to consult and reproduce AFP’s content, which per month includes 1,600 stories on well-being, house and home, entertainment and tourism, as well as a list of 100 must-see events around the world, 60 dynamic photo slides and 40 AFP TV video reports for each subscriber. AFP-Relaxnews already counts 85 high-profile clients across 21 countries, including Yahoo on three continents, MSN in Quebec and South East Asia, France 24 and The Independent.
The Brazilian version of the service, set up by a team based in San-Paolo, will be accessible at http://www.afprelaxnews.com/br and will offer a translation of the content produced by the global service, AFP-Relaxnews, as well as a reproduction of AFP’s newsfeed in Portuguese. The newswire service is based on a logic of growing “leisurisation” of different societies, in Brazil as well as in the rest of the world – that is, “the growing need for leisure and lifestyle news” that is becoming more and more important for the media world to stay on top of.
Emmanuel Hoog, CEO of AFP, described the company as “pursuing its development in Brazil and consolidating its position as an international news agency with this new offer comprising a wide range of products and services dedicated to the Brazilian market: text, photo, multimedia products, infographics, video, and sports-related web apps.”
So why Brazil? In a press release on 12 June (text in French) AFP highlighted three major reasons for choosing the South American country as the destination for AFP-Relaxnews’s expansion. Firstly, from a strategic point of view, Brazil is a shining symbol of the “art of living” and is currently enjoying an increasing cultural influence over the rest of the world. Its role as a leader of culture and leisure will be further amplified when it steps into the limelight as host of two of the world’s most high-profile sporting events: the football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Summer Games in 2016.
Secondly, from an economic perspective, Brazil is one of the “global motors of the content industry.” Its traditional print media remains relatively powerful, whilst the nation’s digital media are going from strength to strength, with consumers spending more than 27 hours per month online on their desktop computers, representing the highest average engagement of all eight Latin American markets analysed in a study by comScore. The two up-coming sports competitions are expected to give Brazil a major economic boost – skyrocketing tourism levels and the attraction of foreign investors are two benefits predicted to place the country in a much stronger economic position. Finally, in terms of editorial interests, AFP has identified Brazil as the source of “numerous trends and events with a global impact.” Brazil therefore represents a major opportunity in the leisure news market in terms of both its existing and upcoming cultural and sporting renown.