Publishers’ aggressive pursuit of commercial opportunities often seems to come at the cost of print resources.
Time Inc’s announcement that it will launch a new beauty mobile service, Powder – which essentially provides well-paying companies like L’Oréal Luxe with a platform for highly targeted product advertisement – is certainly tactical, but also seems like a waste of editorial resources.
The publisher of the Guardian, meanwhile, announced its investment in tech start-up funding company Founders Factory not long after it revealed plans for major cutbacks that are predicted to result in the loss of hundreds of editorial jobs.
While these developments can be understood as a very roundabout way of protecting print operations, publishers’ investment in the independent channel can bring both immediate and long-term benefits. Hello! revealed it would be repeating its PoS promotion for independents – the magazine’s biggest customer – this year on a much larger scale after surpassing the publisher’s expectations in 2015 in terms of sales performance.
So although alternative print operations are being pursued, there’s mounting pressure from retailers for publishers to engage more directly with them for mutual benefit. Last week, Guy Day, of Jackie’s News, praised the Financial Times for putting its voucher scheme directly into the hands of retailers through i-movo, and challenged the Telegraph and News UK to do the same. Around the same time, Mail Newspapers announced it was trialling digital subscriptions via payment terminals and i-movo with independents in Scotland.
Given the positive results from publishers’ independent-focused HND promotions, it seems that the motive for them not to work with retailers is looking increasingly weak.