The contract review is taking place under the guise of cutting costs, but with industry insiders predicting that PMP will pick up a lion-share of ACP’s work from Michael Hannan’s Independent Print Media Group (IPMG), it is looking more and more likely that Hannan is paying the price for publishing titles in direct competition to ACP.
IPMG recently began publishing Woolworths Fresh and revamped Vogue magazine after it picked up the local Vogue publishing license in October 2002. These are seen as a threat to ACP’s dominance in the growing food magazine market, particularly affecting advertising revenue.
A number of other printers may reap the benefits of IPMG’s push into the ACP heartland. Over the past three years, ACP’s parent company PBL has shifted some business off to smaller printers Webstar Print (part of the Blue Star Print Group) and Argyle Times Graphics.
Current capacities for these printers, as well as PMP-owned Rural Press which also prints a number of ACP titles, prevents them handling such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Take 5, The Australian Woman’s Weekly, TV Week, and Woman’s Day. However, the possibility of capturing such contracts may prove to be a lure to expand capacities, something that Rural Press hinted back in February it may be interested in doing.
The $50m in expansions announced by Rural Press didn’t stipulate where the money would be spent, but expectations in the industry are that it will expand its heatset printing capabilities, putting it in a comfortable position to pursue such contracts to add to its growing magazine printing business.
PMP currently holds the contracts to The Australian Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Day magazines, ACP’s two biggest selling titles. The contract for The Australian Woman’s Weekly expires in November, while a number of other contracts come up for consideration over the next 12 to 18 months.
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