PPA Policy Outline
Ellie Austin scored a job at Immediate Media as a Features Writer for Radio Times after graduating from the Magazine Journalism MA course at City University. Here she talks about working in the fast-paced world of a major weekly magazine and the power of a good coffee.
Magazine brands are a uniquely powerful vehicle for advertising, and the PPA works to defend the regulatory structure that supports our members’ commercial activities.
The PPA is represented on the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which governs the self-regulatory code applied by the Advertising Standards Authority, and we are a board member of the Advertising Standards Board of Finance (ASBOF), which collects the funds, reviews and approves the budget of the ASA each year.
The PPA has a seat on the Advertising Association (AA) Council, and supports the AA’s work to monitor and review developments relevant to the advertising industry; shape the sector’s self-regulatory systems; and advise policy makers.
In the area of industry metrics, we are one of the representative bodies that governs the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), providing nominees to the ABC Board from within our membership.
We are also one of the stakeholder organisations behind the Publishers Audience Measurement Company (PAMCO), which in 2016 will replace NRS to provide a measure of the readership of today’s magazine brands across print and digital channels.
The PPA is also a member of the Debating Group, a collective of organisations that brings marketers, politicians, journalists and the public together to discuss the contentious political issues which surround the media and marketing industries.
Copyright and IP
For publishers, the protection of copyright and intellectual property is vital to their business. It underpins everything we do, allowing investment in journalist and creators, crafting content that entertains, educates and informs readers. The PPA works with policymakers and stakeholder bodies to represent the concerns of business and consumer publishers in this area.
The PPA is one of four associations that jointly own the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS). PLS oversees the collective licensing scheme in the UK for book, journal and magazine copying, and last year distributed £33.5m to publishers from collective licensing.
Following changes implemented in UK law in response to the Hargreaves review of Intellectual Property and the introduction of new exceptions to copyright, the PPA is concerned about the potential for widening exceptions and limitations to copyright at a European level. Far too often law makers in Westminster and Brussels appear to treat copyright as a ‘cost’ rather than vital property which helps to support creativity of individuals and innovation in businesses, for which UK companies are world leaders.
The PPA also works with members to monitor and act on the growing threat of unauthorised online use of members’ publications and online services. This digital piracy increasingly challenges UK publishers’ ability to invest in new and developing markets.
The PPA is represented on the Joint Committee for Legal Deposit (JCLD), which establishes the protocols for making publishers’ content available to the official legal deposit libraries across the UK. Given the fragmented and fluid nature of digital content, we lobby for publishers to deliver copies of online publications by an alternative method to web harvesting, which may prove damaging for PPA members who publish complex, layered online publications or data and tables with security restrictions.
The PPA’s membership consists of more than 240 publisher members that create consumer, customer and business magazines and journals as well as websites, apps, data and directories.
Our members are significant contributors to the UK creative industries. The total value of the UK magazine and journal industry is estimated at £5.7bn, with consumer magazines contributing around £2.8bn, business media (including magazines and directories) around £2.0bn, and customer magazines £900m.
Today, the industry is well on the road of transition from printed magazines to multi-platform magazine brands, delivering content to consumers across channels and around the world.
The PPA supports consumers having greater rights and control over their personal data. With data playing an increasing important role in the value exchange for publishers, consumers and advertisers the balance must be struck between protecting personal data and enabling business innovation. and risks disproportionately damaging businesses.
As the UK seeks to leave the European Union, publishers wish to see an agreement between the UK and EU that provide equivalence between the UK Data Protection Regime and EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Harmonisation between the UK and EU data regimes will enable cross-border data transfers and exchanges, supporting business development and innovation across the UK and EU.
Publishers are an important channel for brands to market their goods and services to potential customers – and publishers also need to market their own goods and services, including printed magazine subscriptions and digital offerings. We do not support measures that would make it more difficult and costly for businesses to market their goods and services without necessarily providing any increased protection for individuals.
The Data Protection Act 1998 also provides journalists and publishers with certain exceptions that allows for the processing of personal data in cases in the course of producing professional and authoritative content. These exceptions are finely balanced and it is important that they are maintained under derogations of GDPR..
Overall, it is important that businesses are not unnecessarily burdened with ‘red tape’ that does not actually provide any meaningful or additional protection for individuals. Magazines are an important part of the press – both in print and digital – and the press should not be threatened by burdensome restrictions that do not serve their aim of protecting individuals’ data.
The emergence and continuing evolution of digital channels brings fresh opportunities for publishers but it is matched by fresh challenges in the commercialisation and protection of PPA members’ content.
PPA believes in equal treatment of magazine content across platforms in ensure not to penalise consumers who take advantage of technological change. The VAT on digital products should zero rated to match the rate of VAT on printed products (magazines, books and newspapers).
Through its partnership with the National Literacy Trust, the PPA launched the UK’s first national literacy project to use magazines to promote reading in 2011.
MagAid is designed to promote reading among children from areas of disadvantage. The scheme engages children in reading at school, giving them the opportunity to select and keep reading materials they can then read at home.
With around 3m magazine distributed throughout the UK every day on average, postal matters remain an important part of publishers’ businesses.
The PPA manages the industry’s the relationship with Royal Mail on issues including pricing, quality of service and product development. We are responsible for setting the industry’s position on regulatory issues relating to the postal market and working with the postal regulator, Ofcom.
We also maintain dialogue with alternative carriers, many of whom are involved in the PPA’s Mail Distribution Accreditation Scheme (MDAS), which aims to benchmark and raise standards among UK and international mailing firms.
The PPA is also a member of the Press Distribution Forum (PDF) and we are committed to maintaining a self-regulated supply chain that puts the breadth of titles produced by our members into the hands of consumers in the most efficient and timely manner, through a broad range of local and national retailers.
The PPA plays an important role in campaigning for press freedom in the UK. The PPA defends freedom of expression, thus promoting pluralism and diversity, and ensuring that the UK’s periodical press industry remains competitive and vibrant.
Moreover the PPA support industry self-regulation free from State control, backed up by an equitable and balanced legal framework. The PPA encourages publishers to join the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), which was established by the industry following the Leveson Inquiry as a tough and independent regulator in which consumers and publishers can have confidence.
Millions of magazines are sold in a variety of retail outlets across the UK every day, so the relationship between publishers and retailers is vital.
PPA Retail provides an opportunity for retailers to collaborate with publishers in the promotion of the magazine category and to drive copy sales.
This work is carried out by the PPA’s Retail Marketing Group (RMG), whose objectives are to act as a voice for magazine publishers, to engage with retailers, and also to design and implement a broad range of industry projects. These projects focus on a range of areas including the supply chain, retail promotions, communication and research.