Magazines press Royal mail over pricing plans

Twenty magazine executives met Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton to reiterate their concerns over plans to introduce size-based pricing.

The talks took place at a special lunch for members of the Periodical Publishers Association last week where Keith Jones, chief executive of Reed Business Information and PPA chairman, told Leighton that publishers remained “deeply concerned” and were unconvinced by the Royal Mail’s arguments. Up to 300 weekly magazines would be threatened with closure or forced to shrink to a smaller format if the plans go ahead. Those most at risk are the A3 tabloid magazines worth about £85m in revenue to the Royal Mail – equivalent to about one-third of B2B publishing’s advertising revenue.

Jones said size-based pricing would make it difficult for publishers to run their businesses cost-efficiently.

Leighton said his aim was to create the most modern postal service in the world. He referred to the consultation process that has taken place and accepted there was still work to be done. He said he hoped the Royal Mail would be able to retain publishers’ business. PPA chief executive Ian Locks said publishers would look to Royal Mail to justify the changes and the price adjustments would have to be manageable for publishers.

Another concern is whether businesses will be given adequate notice of any changes.

By Ruth Addicott

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