Time Inc agrees new UK print deal

Jo Francis
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Publishing giant Time Inc has agreed a new sole supplier deal for its UK magazines with Wyndeham Group.

The contract win for Wyndeham marks a remarkable turn of events.

Wyndeham lost its Time Inc UK work – at the time its largest single contract – when US-owned media group Time Inc decided to award Polestar a single-supplier deal in 2014.

Time Inc UK subsequently faced a crisis in its supply chain when most of Polestar went into administration in April.

The new five-year deal encompasses all 75 of its titles. Some large weekly magazines previously printed gravure at Polestar Sheffield will switch to web offset as a result of the move.

Wyndeham said that “a significant amount” of the work would be produced at Wyndeham Bicester, the former Polestar Bicester web offset site it acquired at the beginning of the week.

Time Inc’s top weekly titles, including What’s On TV, NME, Chat, TV Times and its portfolio of women’s weeklies, have a combined circulation of around 2.5 million magazines a week.

What’s On TV is the UK’s second-biggest paid-for magazine title with sales of 993,210 a week. Other flagship titles include glossy monthlies Marie Claire, Ideal Home, and Wallpaper.

In a statement, Time Inc senior vice-president of production Guy Gleysteen said: “We are delighted to partner with Wyndeham Group in a plan that secures critical print resources in the UK for our needs and the wider publishing industry.”

He also thanked former Polestar employees for their efforts during the tumultuous period.

“This is also a moment to extend our thanks for the full support we received from all of the employees at each of the print plants during this transition period.”

Wyndeham Group chief executive Paul Utting said the group was “obviously delighted” to be able to provide Time Inc with a solution following Polestar’s collapse.

He described negotiations with Time Inc as “cordial and constructive throughout”.

Wyndeham will produce the work across a number of its sites. It includes web offset and sheetfed production.

“We will produce most of the weeklies, including What’s on TV, at Bicester where there are three Ferags," Utting said. 

Polestar is known to have won the work at a substantial discount to Wyndeham’s pricing in 2014. Utting declined to comment on pricing levels for the deal, but he addressed speculation about what the win would mean for the group’s other plants.

“There is an enormous amount of former Polestar work to go for outside of what’s in Bicester. The whole Polestar situation gives longevity to Southernprint and Peterborough and actually strengthens our other factories.”

Some of the glossy monthlies and magazine covers that form part of the deal were previously printed at Chantry, which is now owned by YM Group.

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