Total Film magazine is to battle against recent falling editorial standards by cutting the fees paid to its contributors by 40 per cent if deadlines for future editions are missed.
The Future Publishing title told staff it had been left with "no option" but to introduce the new system after recent editions of the monthly magazine were made "considerably worse" by "monstrous bottlenecks" developing in the days before publication as writers missed deadlines.
In an email memo, seen by Press Gazette, Total Film deputy editor Jamie Graham outlined how the short three to three-an-a-half deadlines the magazine works to created "intense pressure" for its staff and left little "wiggle room" for missed deadlines.
He wrote: "I can no longer expect the art and production teams to work ridiculously late hours as a direct result of copy coming in late.
"It also reflects badly on the editorial team, for it is the section editors who have to offer the excuses and apologies when the expected pages do not materialise."
Graham said he was left with no option but to "come over all draconian" and implement punitive measures to create more time for laying out and proofing the magazine.
He said: "If any agreed deadline is missed, we are immediately going to cut the fee by 40 per cent.
"The only exception to this rule is if you have agreed an extension with the section editor at least 24hrs in advance of your original deadline – and if the reason proffered for said extension is legitimate.
"None of the excuses we have been given in the last two months will suffice."
Total Film recorded a year-on-year rise in circulation of 0.6 per cent in the first half of the year in a strong period for film magazines.
The first six months of 2009 saw it circulate an average of 85,031 each month. Rival film title Empire, which is published by Bauer Media, also recorded a circulation rise in the period, climbing 3.6 per cent year on year to an average monthly circulation of 194,016.
Future Publishing declined to comment