Air Business, the British-based periodical and direct mail subsidiary of Ireland’s An Post, has signed up as strategic sponsor with the Periodical Publishers Association for a third year.
The deal will see Hertfordshire-based Air Business continuing to support the work of the magazine industry trade association.
It also maintains the profile of Air Business among the PPA membership, which comprises about 200 consumer and media publisher members producing around 2,500 periodical titles between them.
Barry McIlheney, the PPA chief executive, said Air Business had shown “real commitment” to the publishing industry in the UK with the sponsorship.
He said: “Accurate, timely delivery of magazines at a national and international level is of critical importance to our members’ businesses, and Air Business is ideally positioned to deliver on these requirements.”
Air Business specialises in both domestic UK and international distribution and fulfillment, and also provides integrated subscriptions management services.
An Post, the national Irish postal service, said as it reported its latest annual results at the end of last month that Air Business was now one of the UK’s fastest growing international mailing companies.
Adam Sherman, Air Business Group managing director said of the PPA deal: “We are delighted to extend our partnership with the PPA for a third consecutive year and I would like to take this opportunity to restate Air Business’s commitment to supporting the publishing industry however and wherever we can.”
Founded in 1986, Air Business distributes titles for some of the UK’s largest publishing companies, including IPC Media and Guardian Media Group. Its annual turnover has grown from around GBP 8m to about GBP 40m in the six years to 2011.
Volumes are generally declining in the UK periodicals market at the moment, as more publishers incorporate digital subscription services, but Air Business spokesperson Inderpaul Rai told Post&Parcel that publishers are currently treating digital “as a compliment to print rather than a substitute”.
“Figures from last year showed that print accounts for 86% of a consumer publisher’s revenue, so a lot of publishers are not moving away from print as such, but are integrating both print and digital.”
Air Business made an important play to respond to the digital challenge with the EUR 3.3m acquisition of subscription management and publishing services firm Quadrant Subscription Services from publishing group Reed Business Information.
Among its offerings, Quadrant provides online marketing, ecommerce and web services for digital subscription fulfillment, allowing Air Business to further sell itself on an “end-to-end” offering for publishers.
Meanwhile, Rai said consumer research from mail monitors has shown that providing a quality delivery service was being seen as key to maintaining subscription levels in print titles.
“We received a vast number of responses, with a significant amount responding very favourably,” said Rai, “stating that had delivery times not been improved so much from the previous supplier of their titles, they would have unsubscribed. This has encouraged publishers to use us as their global distribution fulfillment solution.”
Source: Post&Parcel/Air Business Group