Job losses as NatMags closes contract division

Edwards: ‘prize isn’t that great’

Fifteen staff and a number of freelances have lost their jobs at the National Magazine Company as a result of the closure of its contract magazine division.

NatMags said it would try to find alternative positions within the company for those affected and staff began a period of consultation this week.

NatMags set up its contract publishing division two years ago, but is understood to have been increasingly frustrated with the demands of clients, especially given its expertise in publishing and its world-renowned titles such as Cosmopolitan and Esquire.

NatMags managing director Duncan Edwards told Press Gazette: “Clearly it is not just about creating magazines that people want to read, there is an expectation of a great deal of work and energy for pretty low rewards.

“We found that the margins we could make were not the right scale for us as a consumer magazine publisher; you could use an enormous amount of time, energy and resources and not end up anywhere. The prize isn’t that great. We would rather use our limited resources and space for our consumer publishing business.”

NatMags’s portfolio included magazines for the BAA, David Morris the jeweller, Moss Bros, Waitrose, Berkeley Homes and Samsung.

Keith Grainger, chief executive of Redwood, the UK’s biggest customer publisher, said it was a different culture from publishing consumer magazines and admitted publishers were facing increasing demands. He said customer publishing required editorial skill and “sensitive management”.

He added: “There are increasing pressures on clients and, inevitably, that can impact on the relationship between the client and the magazine publisher.

“Most of the bookstall publishers think they can make loads of money out of it, but it requires a different approach.”

NatMags will close its contract magazine business in mid-May.

Edwards paid tribute to “a wonderful staff who have produced some great magazines” and said the company would still be open to contract opportunities in the future. “We’ll continue to do projects when appropriate, which is what we have done historically,” he added.

By Ruth Addicott

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