MEDIA: NatMags launches contract division

The National Magazine Company has become the latest publishing

house to venture into contract titles with the launch of a specialist

division.



NatMags Contract Publishing is headed by joint directors Julian Downing

and Carey Sedgwick, who have joined from rival Citrus Publishing.



The decision to branch out into contract titles has been prompted by the

rapid growth of this sector. Last year Conde Nast Publications created a

contract titles publishing arm.



NatMags, responsible for titles such as Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping,

Esquire and Harpers & Queen, claimed there were plenty of new business

opportunities despite the economic uncertainty. The new venture will be

part of NatMags Specialist Media, a group of wedding titles acquired

last year from publisher AIM.



Downing said the contract business was one of the most profitable

sectors in publishing, with a healthy outlook.



'Historically, contract publishing is a recession resilient industry.

When times are bad, companies tend to turn to their existing customer

base to drive more business,' he said.



'We are already working on a number of opportunities, quality accounts

that fit well into the portfolio of titles published by NatMags and that

have the right proposition. I am sure companies that have not considered

having customer magazines before will look at us because of our strong

experience of selling titles on news-stands.'



Downing, who was communications planning director at Citrus, will be

joined by his former colleague, editorial and design director Sedgwick

in 2002.



Both were responsible for relaunching Citrus to become a leading player

in web and print contract publishing.



Downing said all market sectors were being considered, adding that the

division was in the process of hiring creative and editorial teams.



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