MEDIA: Hall to drive PA contract arm

Phil Hall, the newly-appointed MD of Press Association's contract publishing division, will spearhead a push for new business.

'We will go after everything from football programmes to to store magazines to national newspaper magazines - the whole gamut,' said Hall, the Hello! editor-in-chief who resigned this week.

'We have always done bits of contract publishing and page-ready services. We will be pulling these elements of the business together into a new product,' a spokeswoman confirmed.

PA produces 4,500 formatted pages weekly for papers and magazines. Content covers news, sport, finance, features and photography. It has three contracts: to produce Sport First, Hello!'s entertainment section, 7, and to provide production services for City news title The Business.

Content for its contract ventures is taken from across the group, rather than from staff working exclusively on these projects. 'So much of PA's work is providing different content across different platforms,' the spokeswoman said.

PA said Hall's appointment was a 'reflection of the demand for these services over the past 12 months'.

But it claimed reports that Hall will be setting up a new division and hiring 'substantial' numbers of staff are inaccurate.

The bulk of the page production team is based at PA's centre in Howden, Yorkshire, to where Hall will relocate.

PA contract publishing editor Cate Wilson will remain in her post.

No start date at PA has been set for Hall, who is on five months' notice.

He will remain as a full-time consultant to Hello! until a replacement is found. Deputy editor Roger Kasper is 'leading the field', according to Hall.

PRWeek writer Amanda Platell, previously William Hague's director of media and editor of the Sunday Express, was this week reported to be on the verge of taking a senior role on the celebrity title, but she moved to quash speculation that she would fill Hall's role.

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