Blue Star wins million-dollar magazine contract

Blue Star has won the lucrative Hello magazine contract after the UK publisher decided to bring the printing onshore.

The Australian version of the international celebrity weekly is published by Hello Ltd and features UK-based content. It was previously imported from the UK but is now being produced locally.

Hello Ltd's consultant production director, Andy Franks, told ProPrint that the contract had been awarded to Blue Star's web printer, Webstar, because of its "flexibility and overwhelming enthusiasm to accommodate Hello".

Local production of Hello started in late October. Franks said Webstar was printing 30,000 copies per week, "but I certainly hope this is just the start".

He also said bringing the printing onshore had allowed Hello to reduce its cover price from $6.95 to $5.95 and advance the weekly publication date.

Webstar chief executive Warwick Hay said Hello was a "perfect fit" for the 190-staff operation, which "produces for a large number of small to medium publishers".

[Related: PMP wins Elle contract]

"In this particular case, it was very much that we listened to the customer and understood what they were trying to achieve here in Australia. A lot of that was about getting a timely magazine on the newsstand and creating the right flexibility," he told ProPrint.

Hay said Webstar, which produces ProPrint, was flexible enough to run the magazine through four of its five presses and also handle the finishing. "It's not about being just a one-trick pony," he said.

Hello Ltd and Webstar declined to reveal the length and value of the contract, but the volumes and pagination suggest it would be worth more than $1 million per year.

Meanwhile, PMP has also received good news after Bauer Media decided to expand Belle from six issues per year to eight in 2014.

"Belle has been Australia’s interior design bible since 1974 and is currently experiencing circulation highs, up 64% on 2006, a terrific position to be in," according to Bauer.

"And it presents a great opportunity to deliver more influencing, affluent and trend-setting readers for our advertising partners."

PMP declined to comment.

[Related: More news about magazines]

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