Outsourcing of listings to PA could lose IPC jobs

Staff on IPC’s four lucrative TV magazines are incensed by the plans

Staff on IPC’s TV listings titles fear they will lose editorial control and the magazines’ distinctive position in the market if the company goes ahead with plans to outsource its listings to PA and axe up to 100 jobs.

IPC plans to test the PA service in conjunction with its own Programmes Department, as of this week, and will make a decision on whether to outsource the listings fully by mid-September.

The move could result in 75 to 100 job losses across TV Times, TV & Satellite Week, What’s On TV and Soaplife. It is expected to save IPC in the region of £500,000 per year in staff and allied costs but was criticised by staff who fear it could damage the quality of the titles.

“The programme pages are a substantial part of the operation and there is a feeling that we are losing control over a very important part of our business.

Staff are of the opinion that PA can’t be as efficient or accurate as the in-house team, as they have a lot of clients. It will have an impact on the quality of the service that’s provided,” a source said.

Staff feel there is currently an element of “expertise” in the IPC titles as most of the rivals, apart from Radio Times, use PA. They claim that expertise is crucial in trying to retain a point of difference and increase market share, particularly on the back of the ABC results, which showed circulation drops for all four titles.

The plans were announced internally last Wednesday – the day before the ABC results were released and press day for journalists on TV Times. An NUJ representative for IPC said: “It seems IPC is prepared to sacrifice accuracy and integrity, as well as many highly-experienced and longserving staff, to extract even more profit from titles that are already by far their most lucrative.”

By Ruth Addicott

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