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Think BR: Publishing's multi-platform future

Today's PPA conference is a chance for the industry to take stock of where we've come from and make sense of where we're going, writes James Papworth, marketing director, PPA.

James Papworth, marketing director, PPA

James Papworth, marketing director, PPA

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In the point-and-click, swipe-and-tap world we live in, sometimes it’s important to stop and take stock.

For many media businesses, change is happening fast. Everyone is doing more: there are more opportunities, more content, more platforms - so a sense of where we’ve come from is critical to help map where we’re going.

For publishers, the PPA Conference taking place today is a chance to do exactly that. Publishing+ takes place at the Hilton London Metropole where we will gather as an industry to discuss and explore the sector’s multi-platform future, and the elements that are both shaping it and being shaped by it.

And let’s not forget the extent of that change. It’s just two years since Apple ignited the tablet touchpaper with the launch of the iPad, and the innovation from publishers we have seen on that platform in such a short space of time has been astonishing.

Digital magazines in all their forms have boomed and will continue to boom as the market matures with a slew of competitive devices running Android.

With new opportunities and expanding reach however, comes an increase in the risk of piracy associated more immediately with music and film.

Just as those industries have grappled with the digitisation of their content in recent years, publishers are increasingly facing the same issues.

The PPA estimates that unauthorised use of copyrighted material among members equated to £33m in lost revenues in 2011.

To protect this income stream, the PPA today launches an Anti-Piracy Portal where members can nominate titles to be tracked on the web and then have takedown notices sent to copyright-infringing websites.

But while we look to address the challenges from new platforms, our more established routes to market are going about their business with the same confidence they ever have.

A staggering 3.3m magazines are distributed in the UK every single day, read by an impressive 85% of the UK population.

To give that some context, that’s more overall than those reading a national newspaper; more than those listening to commercial radio or tweeting; and three times the number of individuals who own a smartphone.

Indeed, in recent months we have been given further evidence of print’s undiminished ability to engage today’s audiences with launches from Bauer Media, Hearst Magazines UK, Immediate Media and IPC Media.

And, take our word for it, the public reaction to the vote for the Cover of the Year category at the PPA Awards has been nothing short of phenomenal.

So, what does that all mean for delegates at this year’s PPA Conference and where does that leave us as an industry in 2012?

Well, we remain a major force in print - but our brands are no longer defined by just ink on paper.

We are now wherever our audiences want us to be. We are on mobile and we are on social media; we are in data and we are in live events.

So, it’s still about publishing but today, particularly at the Hilton London Metropole, it’s about Publishing+.

Brand Republic is the event's official media partner and is reporting from today's key sessions. Find out more as it happens at or by following #ppaconf on Twitter.

James Papworth, marketing director, PPA

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