Agency or publisher?

There’s been some debate around about whether a contract publisher is an agency (as in advertising) or a publisher with editorial credibility (see Folio). For Mike Potter, one of the founders of Redwood, the answer was definitely ‘agency’ (he came from ad sales at Haymarket) but the company had editorial credibility in Chris Ward – former editor of the Daily Express (whose big splash was ‘Intruder at the Queen’s bedside). The company also hired big names such as Peter Crookston (former editor of both Nova and theĀ Observer Magazine) and Tony Hilton (Times Washington correspondent).

Being owned by the BBC for several years and launching most of the BBC titles didn’t do any harm either. It was Potter who drove the establishment of the Association of Publishing Agencies and Redwood is now owned by an advertising agency.

But a piece on the APA website really marks the divide: ‘Proof that Redwood is an agency rather than a traditional publisher, lies in employee benefits that include a company yoga teacher and reflexologist, birthdays off and a Christmas shopping half-day.’

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