Job fears as Redwood loses BSkyB contract

Sky Customer Magazine: moving

Forty journalists, including staff and freelances, could be hit following the decision by BSkyB to transfer its customer magazine contract from Redwood to John Brown Citrus Publishing.

While anxiety mounted at Redwood this week, John Brown Citrus launched an immediate recruitment drive to find a new editor and team ahead of a major relaunch of the Sky Customer Magazine in October.

It is another major win for John Brown Citrus, which has been locked in a competitive pitch with a number of top publishers. The company also clinched the contract to publish the AA magazine, the UK’s second biggest circulation title, from Redwood last year. Sky’s monthly, mailed direct to customers’ homes, has the highest circulation in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Its latest ABC of 5.18 million showed 34 per cent growth year-on-year.

Under the contract, John Brown Citrus will also produce a range of customer communications for BSkyB such as personalised customer letters and online content.

Sky refused to give a reason for the move, but issued a statement saying: "After a long and positive association with Redwood, Sky believes this is the time for a new partner to help take Sky Customer Magazine into a new phase of development. We look forward to working with John Brown Citrus to make the magazine an even more successful product in the future."

Redwood managing director Keith Grainger said: "Redwood launched this magazine with Sky in 1994 and has helped to develop it into the valued communication tool it is today. We’ve enjoyed a terrific relationship with Sky and wish it well."

Redwood refused to comment further, but sources say there are concerns that the company will not be able to find new jobs for all the staff involved. Although Redwood is pitching for a number of new contracts, the company’s official website says there are no vacancies currently available.

"It is a bit of a blow for Redwood, but on the other hand, people at John Brown Citrus might not know what they’ve let themselves in for," another source added. "Sky is a perfectionist and is notorious for changing its mind at the last minute."

By Ruth Addicott

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