Regarding the article Contract publishers seek to simplify new business pitching (p1, June 13), I would like to clarify a couple of points.
Firstly, it is no longer the case that APA excludes contract publishers turning over less than a million pounds. APA's membership criteria are set to provide reassurance to client companies that publishers have the experience, resources and financial probity to be able to complete a publishing contract.
We would be delighted to welcome any customer publisher that meets these criteria into membership. Two years ago we amended the joining criteria to make it easier for publishers to join at an earlier stage in their development, while still adhering to these basic principles - and removed the £1m entry level. I would, of course, be delighted to send an updated membership pack to the publisher who commented on this for your article.
Secondly, the consultancy service that APA is launching focuses on helping clients to put together a business plan, prepare a brief or manage the pitch process.
At this stage it stops short of "match-making" although, as your article suggests, APA is currently considering linking with one of the agency intermediary companies to offer this kind of service.
Association of Publishing Agencies
"One contract publisher has expressed concerns," your front page proclaimed. Who is it then?
Poor clients. Literally too stupid to find their own customer magazine publisher. So they have to be "matched-up" with one of only three.
What happened to fair competition and their freedom of choice? Pitches are more competitive simply because there is so much more choice out there.
Contract publishing is booming. How fantastic for us. Please let's not knock it by whingeing about pitches that contain more than three companies.
As managing director of River (top 10, non-APA contract publisher and former client side for six years at Procter and Gamble) we'll take our chances, pitching against any or all of our competitors if that's what it takes to win the job.
We set up River nine (very successful) years ago and the majority of pitches we've taken part in (our strike rate is one in three) contain more than three companies.
How about Media Week asking clients what they want? After all it's clients' money and their customers that spawned the contract publishing industry in the first place.
As John Adams said: "The nervous trapeze artist will only attempt daring feats if he has a safety net".
Now where did I put that manual on Porter's five forces of competition?
This article was first published on Media Week