Three of the main consumer magazine publishers, IPC, the National
Magazine Company and Conde Nast, have joined forces in an unprecedented
alliance to increase revenue from subscription sales.
The alliance, Publishers Direct, will pool databases for a direct mail
initiative to 100,000 lapsed subscribers to challenge the success of UK
publishing clearing houses.
If successful, Publishers Direct will seek to recruit other publishers
in a long-term subscriptions drive.
This week, the publishers sent out a mailer to lapsed subscribers
offering subscriptions to 24 titles, including magazines such as Tatler,
Marie Claire and Vogue, and the chance to enter a prize draw for a
Publishing clearing houses, which came to the UK from the US several
years ago, have generated significant business volume. But the profit
margins gained from the business are modest.
Joan Scanlon, the director of subscriptions marketing at NatMags, said:
’The Publishers Clearing House and British Family Publishing all form
part of the marketing mix, but they are mailing millions of
subscriptions packs. We hope there is the potential to run this kind of
campaign for ourselves.’
One noticeable absentee from the initiative is Emap. However, Scanlon
insisted: ’We felt it prudent to have a smaller group and there was huge
synergy with the titles that were involved.’
WWAV Rapp Collins and the fulfilment company, Quadrant Subscriptions
Services, are working on the direct mail campaign.
Media buyers welcomed the co-operation. Tim Kirkman, TMD Carat’s press
director, said: ’It’s great to see them working as an industry rather
than a collection of individuals. It’s more than the newspaper
publishers can do.’