Cross-company regional press sales house The Word will be wound up
at the end of the month despite continued demand for its services.
The Word is funded by subscription payments from its member newspaper
groups. It was founded in 1988 to offer media agencies a single buying
point for the regional press, and to attract national advertising. In 11
years it generated more than pounds 30 million of advertising revenue
and pulled in international brands such as McDonald’s, Compaq and
The Word attributed its demise to the ’improved offering’ of the
regional press, arguing that ’the need for a single sales house to
represent a disparate group of publishers has diminished’.
But it is hard to find anyone who agrees. The Newspaper Society has been
quizzing advertisers and agencies since September to get their views on
the regional press. It is thought many still consider a single buying
point to be vitally important. The society’s Action Manifesto - which is
likely to include the need to simplify the regional press buying process
- is set to launch on 29 February, just hours after The Word is due to
be wound up.
It looks more likely that The Word was undermined by a lack of support
from certain large newspaper groups.
The Word’s chief executive Gavin Caldwell resigned last year. It is
thought that he wanted to expand the company’s remit but could not get
the board’s support.