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AFP and relaxnews launch the first worldwide leisure newswire

The international news agency AFP and leisure news service relaxnews joined forces Monday to launch the first global newswire devoted to leisure and lifestyle coverage at the Fondation Cartier in Paris.

The new service aims to tap into a market with high potential.

10 English-speaking journalists in Paris, backed by a global network

Now live, the AFP-relaxnews leisure newswire is produced by a team of 10 English-speaking journalists in Paris, with contributions from a global network of correspondents, including four in New York, Dubai, London and Hong Kong.

Seventy percent of the content will come from relaxnews and thirty percent from AFP. Coverage falls into four main categories:

Well-being: beauty & cosmetics, nutrition, health & fitness, sport

House and Home: DIY, gardening, decoration, design, environment, high-tech, fashion, consumer goods

Entertainment: Art & museums, shows, cinema, video games, books, mangas, comics, music, TV, Internet

Tourism: Cars & motorbikes, gastronomy, hotels, resorts and holiday destinations

The opening night party featured a short film (www.afprelaxnews.com/film) shot at the famed Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower to get our message across: “AFP and relaxnews have concocted, for you, the world’s first leisure newswire service. Taste it!”

The film highlights a survey carried out in 10 countries last year , from Britain and the United States, to France and China and India, which showed that 90 percent of people say lifestyle issues are important to their lives.(1)

Even in the midst of the current global economic situation, nearly half said they planned no reduction of their leisure activities – and even more said their leisure pursuits would increase.

The AFP-relaxnews “menu”: relax news (80 stories a day, with pictures), relax agenda (selection of 100 must-see cultural events around the world), relax slideshows (2 slideshows a day, each with at least 6 captioned pictures), relax videos (1 AFPTV video report per day), relax community (messaging, opinion polls).

The world’s first global lifestyle and leisure wire is being marketed under the relaxnews brand. Currently available in English and French, it will later be available in Arabic and Spanish as well. AFP and relaxnews hope to bring in revenue totalling 15 million euros by 2012.

French Research Agency’s support

AFP and relaxnews won financial support from the French Research Agency (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) on January 1, 2009 for a separate project to research new ways of categorising leisure–related news for mobile platforms, following a tender in 2008. The research forms part of a 30-month technological project to categorise information for the Internet, also involving the MoDyCo research laboratory of Université Paris X and the L31 research laboratory of the Université de La Rochelle.

100 journalism schools given free subscriptions

To highlight the growing importance and interest in leisure news, the new service is being distributed free to 100 journalism schools. After the global launch in Paris at the Fondation Cartier – on the occasion of the exhibition “Native Land” by Raymond Depardon and Paul Virilio – AFP-relaxnews will have opening nights in Hong Kong (February 11) and the United States (first half of 2009). AFP-relaxnews will also be featured at major industry shows including the 3GSM in Barcelona, MIPTV in Cannes, the WAN congress in India and the DMA show in the United States.