12 Drummers Drumming – GC Look back on ‘Phoenix from the ashes’ moments from 2020

18th December 2020

As we prepare to sign off for Christmas, some of the ACE General Committee members take a moment to pause and look back over 2020.
We asked members of the council to consider from a business perspective, what has been their ‘phoenix from the ashes’ moment that has arisen from COVID…

Carola York – VP Publishing – Jellyfish

“Despite 2020 being an incredibly tough year for retail sales, the exponential rise in subscriptions demonstrated people still love being entertained, inspired and informed by high quality magazine and newspaper content”

James Hill – Circulation and Subscriptions Director – Hearst

“It was when our Christmas subscription campaign launched at the start of Q4. We were selling premium bundles at double the prices we had in the market last year, and sales were still up massively YoY. It was signal that, even beyond the national lockdown period, print was continuing to resonate with our audiences as well as ever, and injected further confidence into our plans for 2021”

Mylene Sylvestre – Publishing Director Guardian News & Media

‘For the Guardian, the most noticeable positive effect of the Covid-19 crisis has been the surge in subscriptions, both for our print (newspapers and the Guardian Weekly) and digital products (contributions and digital subscriptions) during lockdown. The resilience of our weekend newspapers compared to the drop in weekday casual sales has been interesting to see too, illustrating our readers’s new habits in terms of commute, travel, media consumption and shopping habits’

Leon Benoiton – Head of Newstrade Marketing – Frontline

“To say that this year has been “different” is the under-statement of all time! But in the face of all the adversity, the fact that the industry has survived is down to not only the talented people that we have, but also the fact that everyone has pulled together. Much of what we have achieved this year we would not have thought possible. Magazines continuing to be published and distributed whilst everyone is working remotely, WHS stores closing for months, travel restricted across the globe, resource and morale affected by furlough and redundancies…the list is endless.

But we have proved that we are an extremely robust and innovative industry – and one that I’m proud to be a part of!”

Anya Ahmad – Head of Retail – Smiths News

“My moment has been seeing the resilience of businesses to adapt to new measures at very short notice, and seeing them put employee health and safety front and centre has been refreshing”

Richard Pickard – Operations Director – The Telegraph

“2020 has provided significant challenges for all in our industry. That said the industry should be incredibly proud of the efforts made to sustain newspaper and magazine sales. We’ve all shown that with a rich news agenda and people determined to stay informed it is possible to both retain and grow sales and subscribers”

Richard Salsbury – Head of International Marketforce at Future

“What has struck me most and gives me great hope for the industry as we move into 2021, is the rate at which newsstand sales have rebounded after periods of store closures in many markets around the world. Consumers have been snapping up old stock and demonstrating a pent up desire for our products as retailers have re-opened in the US, Canada and South Africa, showing how our category is still very much in demand. This is a great story to take to retail to show the continuing vitality of press”


Merry Christmas from all at ACE!



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