|Title:||United Kingdom top 20 magazine printers by revenue in pounds sterling for 2010|
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MAGAZINE PRINTER LEAGUE TABLE
Rank Company Turnover X The Polestar Company pounds XXXm* X Wyndeham pounds XXX.Xm X Prinovis pounds XX.Xm X GA Pindar & Sons pounds XX.Xm* X Goodhead Group pounds XX.Xm X William Gibbons Group pounds XX.Xm X The Artisan Press pounds XX.Xm X Precision Colour Printing pounds XXm X Warners Midlands pounds XX.Xm XX Garnet Dickinson Print pounds XXm XX Headley Brothers pounds XX.Xm XX Stephens & George pounds XX.Xm XX Ancient House Press pounds XXm XX Buxton Press pounds XXm XX The Website (Leeds) pounds XX.Xm XX Pensord Press pounds XXm XX Woodford Litho pounds XX.Xm XX The Nuffield Press pounds X.Xm XX The Magazine Printing Co pounds X.Xm XX Williams Press (Berks) pounds X.Xm
Source: All figures taken from the PrintWeek Top XXX 2010, accounts
filed at Companies House or from the companies themselves
Magazine printing is a diverse business, covering a range of disciplines and technologies, but everyone agrees things are changing rapidly.
According to publishing trade body the PPA, almost XX% of the adult population of the UK read a magazine of one sort or another and consumers will spend a whopping pounds X.Xbn on magazines this year. And that's just one aspect of the diverse world of printed magazines, which spans young and old, businesses and consumers, generalists and specialists. We speak to a selection of production chiefs about their wants and worries, and the tasks in hand for printed mags.
The customer magazine publisher
Customer publishing giant John Brown Media works with a huge variety of clients, from retailer John Lewis to charity Cancer Research UK, and has a print production spend of around pounds XX.Xm.
Matt Jolly Production director, John Brown Media
'We use all the print processes; although most of our work is web offset, there are elements of gravure and elements of sheetfed - it changes depending on the needs of the client and whatever best suits the job. Our work is probably a XX-XX split between contractual arrangements and one-off jobs, so we have a lot of changing requirements. Our world is very different to a consumer publishing business, it's much more changeable and dynamic. We are constantly trying to match printers to job specs. We do use digital printing too, although in terms of volume it's a minuscule amount. Our biggest spend on digital is probably for pitches.
Stability is incredibly important to us, although stability is increasingly hard to find in the web offset market. Our service to our clients is only as good as the service we get from our suppliers. It's a fairly worrying time for all print buyers. We've seen a massive sea change in choice over the past three-to-four years - it's almost like the housing market in reverse, a bubble that can't continue forever. It's the same with print prices.
It's hard to know what sort of future services we might want. Getting the core offering right is more important to me. We're very demanding and we work to tight deadlines that aren't self-imposed. We're always interested to hear about ideas - new and different treatments that our clients can get excited about.
In 2005, when I joined John Brown, if you'd asked me about changing requirements then I'd have said we'd be doing more personalisation and targeted work. As it turns out the opposite is probably true, but that's a reflection of our client base. The cost of postage is one of the reasons that personalisation hasn't taken off for a lot of clients, because they can reach customers via their established in-store channels. There's not enough benefit in personalisation, but it might be different for other clients in different sectors.
Printers seem quite excited about getting prices up, but I don't think it will happen as easily as that. The print industry isn't a cartel and while there's competition, price will stay fairly close to what it is now. We expect market prices to be higher than a year ago and expect contractual work prices to rise organically.'
Haymarket Publishing operates in the consumer, business and customer magazine sectors, with well-known titles such as FourFourTwo, Autosport, Management Today and, of course, PrintWeek.
Gary Charlton Head of production, Haymarket
'Our consumer titles are mostly printed web offset, whereas our customer titles are a mixture of web offset, sheetfed and gravure. For our business magazines, we have moved from web offset to sheetfed as run lengths and circulations have been scrutinised. We don't expect this mix to change any time soon.
Customer publishing will always need a mixture of suppliers as the specifications for the magazines can vary so much. CutStar presses have made sheetfed competitive with web offset, but only on sub-XX,XXX runs. Some business titles have benefited from the CutStar presses, mainly due to the variable cut-offs available.
Haymarket has a long history of working in partnership with our print suppliers, we value long-term relationships as we want good quality, stability and reliability. We believe the best way of achieving that is to work with our suppliers so that they understand our business.
The changes in the print market will continue, mostly in the web offset sector. We feel this is a necessary, albeit painful change, that will ensure the long-term future of the industry. Prices will increase over time, but in the short term this will mainly affect those publishers that have shifted work regularly in order to gain sub-market prices and suppliers that have offered unsustainable pricing models.
We are aware of the price pressures on our suppliers and we will continue to work with them to look at efficiencies in the supply chain that can benefit us both. This is something Haymarket has done with great success with our sheetfed titles by rationalising print sizes and paper weight and stock.
I feel investment in the print industry will mainly be in digital presses that will enable shorter-run magazines to supply niche markets and this will have an effect on the sheetfed market more than the web offset market.'
The specialist publisher
The BMJ Group publishes XX titles ranging from its flagship eponymous weekly to monthlies and bi-monthlies, along with an array of standalone websites and evidence-based tools. The group also runs associated conferences and events.
Catherine Harding-Wiltshire Head of production and distribution, BMJ Group
'One of the things we've been looking at is reducing our carbon impact, and this has resulted in a project focused on our worldwide subscriber and membership copies. We don't have any newsstand titles, it's all paid-for subs or titles that are part of a membership of a society, so we are shipping all over the world.
We've been testing a distribute-then-print model on a couple of titles. The dynamics of printing and mailing costs are really difficult to work out. Also we're printing some titles digitally where there's a per-colour page charge rather than the section charges we're used to with sheetfed or web. So it makes for a very complicated matrix.
We're working with two remote print hubs, one in the US and one in Singapore. In Singapore, you can print relatively cheaply, but the mailing became very expensive, whereas in the US the print is more expensive, but the mailing is cheaper. In the UK, we are facing XX%-XX% mailing increases on some of our titles, and we've actually worked out that for some of our non-time sensitive magazines it's cheaper to print and mail it from the US than it is to post it in Wakefield or Southampton. Which seems ridiculous, but that's where we are. DHL's GOGreen distribution calculator is a very helpful tool.
The intention is to roll this distribute-then-print model out to as many of our non-time sensitive titles as possible, but as you can imagine it's a logistical nightmare so we're working on a title-by-title basis to get it right and then roll it out. With Royal Mail increasing prices we may look to print everything that's not time-sensitive in the US and Singapore and then ship it back here. Or even print in India; it's not as inexpensive as it used to be, but the quality is much better than it was.
One of the things we've established is a 'client printing programme', which is a value-add for our customers. This allows us to control schedules and deliveries and is more carbon-effective as inserts etc are printed at the same place (where possible) as the journals. Clients love it, they give us the artwork and we do the rest. It started off low-key, but has grown and we are now producing the majority of our 'value-added' in this way.
The stability of our print suppliers is always a concern and it's a bit of a worrying time in the UK. All we can do is have plans in place should something go drastically wrong. We had a disaster happen on our doorstep (the July 2005 bus bombing in Tavistock Square), we had a disaster plan then and we have one now, it's important to us that our suppliers and vendors have disaster recovery plans too.
Consolidation is happening in print and there are bound to be price increases, although to be fair we've never gone for the cheapest price. Rising prices may result in us looking overseas - we already print one of our titles in Italy and we're looking at what European printers can do.'
The niche publisher
AIM-listed Electric Word produces content for a number of tightly-defined niches in specialist areas including sport, gaming and education. Its portfolio of magazines comprises mainly monthly titles and the business also produces online editions, websites, events and offers contract publishing services.
Craig Young Production and studio manager, Electric Word
'All our print runs are sheetfed and for shorter runs we use digital. We did quite a big print review for our sheetfed titles last year and the biggest help for us to emerge from that is a price matrix. Now we can make decisions on print and paper costs depending on formats and print runs very easily without having to trouble the printer's estimators or wait on them.
Both of our key suppliers are good at bringing us ideas and suggestions, and if they think something won't work they'll let us know too and that's very helpful.
Our magazines tend to be high pagination, but low runs and it can be quite tricky deciding the best way to produce them. Electric Word is an acquisitive, growing business so our requirements are changing. We produce a lot of online content but the print tender showed us that printed magazines are cost-effective if bought properly. At the moment it's the cost of the distribution and postage that's of most concern.'
MAGAZINE PRINTER LEAGUE TABLE