PPA Blog

DCMS Respond to PPA Letter Highlighting Impact of COVID-19 On Publishers

By Jess Browne-Swinburne

23 Apr 2020

UPDATE: DCMS respond to PPA letter written to Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, calling for the adjustments to government schemes intended to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus in order to provide greater support for UK publishers.

DCMS response

The letter outlined a concerning picture when it comes to revenues, with publishers reporting advertising revenues down the coming quarter, with double digit declines across the sector.

“The picture is volatile and very mixed across different brands” PPA MD Owen Meredith highlighted in the correspondence. “While there is some resilience in newsstand and subscription sales, this cannot compensate for the loss of advertising revenue or the postponement and cancellation of publisher events and exhibitions, which are down 90% across the sector this quarter.”

A few key areas where the government could support the sector were highlighted, including the backdating of zero-rating VAT on digital publication to the start of the 20/21 tax year; extending the definition of ‘leisure, entertainment and retail’ in the Business Rate Relief package to include publishers; the directing of the Governments own ad spend towards magazine media to help offset the dramatic decline in advertising and the expansion of the SME Cash Grants System to include SME publishers who do not meet the current criteria.

PPA also called for more flexibility within the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to allow ‘part-time’ furloughing. This would allow workers to reduce hours while continuing to support the business and ensure a rapid return to business as usual when the circumstances allow.

Read PPA letter here

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