PPA Policy Outline

The PPA campaigns widely to defend and shape the regulatory structure that supports our members’ commercial activities.


The PPA remains a hub at the core of the media and advertising environment. We collaborate widely and are proud to be represented on the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which governs the self-regulatory code applied by the Advertising Standards Authority. We are also a board member of the Advertising Standards Board of Finance (ASBOF), which collects the funds, reviews and approves the budget of the ASA each year.

Our ability to monitor and review developments relevant to the advertising industry is crucial. So the PPA maintains a seat on the Advertising Association (AA) Council, enabling us to shape the sector’s self-regulatory systems and advise policy makers.

We are also one of the representative bodies that governs the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), providing nominees to the ABC Board from within our membership and are one of the stakeholder organisations behind the Publishers Audience Measurement Company (PAMCO), which uses world leading methodology to measure readership of published media.

The PPA remains engaged with the contentious political issues that surround the media and marketing industries. We are proud to be a member of the Debating Group, which brings marketers, politicians, journalists and the public together to discuss relevant issues.

The PPA works with policymakers and stakeholder bodies to ensure that creative businesses thrive and prosper; indeed the protection of copyright and intellectual property underpins everything we do.

For example, we are a joint owner of the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS), which oversees the collective licensing scheme in the UK for book, journal and magazine copying. Last year the PLS distributed £34m to publishers from collective licensing.

We are also a proud member of the Alliance for Intellectual Property, a coalition of trade associations and enforcement organisations with an interest in ensuring that intellectual property rights are valued in the UK and that a robust, efficient legislative and regulatory regime enables these rights to be properly protected. We also represent the industry on the British Copyright Council.

Defending intellectual property in the new digital age is vital to the PPA. As the nature and scope of copyright law evolves, we remain at the forefront of efforts to combat digital piracy. We believe passionately that the copyright system must be fit for the digital age, with businesses and creators empowered to protect their work for their continued success.

That is why we campaigned for a Publishers Right – a new piece of EU legislation which would require news aggregators linking to publishers’ online content first to have licences in places with press publishers. Whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations, we believe this right should be enshrined in UK national law.

Given the fragmented and fluid nature of digital content, we also lobby for publishers to deliver copies of online publications by an alternative method to web harvesting, as this can prove damaging for data publishers. And our representation on the Joint Committee for Legal Deposit (JCLD) means we can shape the protocols for making publishers’ content available to the official legal deposit libraries across the UK.

Creative Industries

Our members are significant contributors to the UK creative industries. The total value of the UK magazine and journal industry is estimated at £4bn.

Today, the industry is multi-platform brand driven, delivering content to consumers across channels and around the world.

We continue to work with government officials to ensure the publishing sector gets a fair deal in ongoing trade negotiations, and lobby for a Brexit outcome that does not negatively impact our members.

Data Protection

The PPA supports giving consumers greater rights and control over their personal data. With data playing an increasing important role in the value exchange for publishers, consumers and advertisers a balance must be struck between protecting personal data and enabling business innovation.

With the implementation of EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, the UK will continue to align with the EU data regime. Such harmonisation will enable cross-border data transfers and exchanges, supporting business development and innovation across the UK and EU.

Publishers are an important channel for brands to market themselves. We do not support measures that would make it more difficult and costly for businesses to market their goods and services without necessarily providing any increased protection for individuals.

The Data Protection Act 1998 also provides journalists and publishers with certain exceptions that allows for the processing of personal data in cases in the course of producing professional and authoritative content. These exceptions are finely balanced and it is important that they are maintained under derogations of GDPR and ICO guidelines.

Overall, it is important that businesses are not unnecessarily burdened with ‘red tape’ that does not actually provide any meaningful or additional protection for individuals. Magazines are an important part of the press – both in print and digital – and the press should not be threatened by burdensome restrictions that do not serve their aim of protecting individuals’ data.

Digital Content

The continuing evolution of digital channels brings fresh opportunities for publishers but also challenges in the commercialisation and protection of PPA members’ content.

PPA believes in equal treatment of magazine content across platforms so as not to penalise consumers who take advantage of technological change.

As recommended by the Cairncross Review into the sustainability of high-quality journalism, we believe that the VAT on digital products should be zero ratedto match the rate of VAT on printed products (magazines, books and newspapers). The lack of a level playing field here remains a costly anomaly that damages consumer choice, holds back innovation and investment, and fails to meet the tests set for good tax principles.


Through its partnership with the National Literacy Trust, the PPA launched the UK’s first national literacy project to use magazines to promote reading among children living in disadvantaged areas. We remain committed to promoting the vital role magazines play in improving literacy rates through our close involvement with the charity MagAid.

Postal Distribution

With around 3m magazines distributed throughout the UK every day, postal matters remain an important part of publishers’ businesses. The PPA manages the industry’s the relationship with Royal Mail on issues including pricing, quality of service and product development. We are responsible for setting the industry’s position on regulatory issues relating to the postal market and working with the postal regulator, Ofcom.

We also maintain dialogue with alternative carriers, many of whom are involved in the PPA’s Mail Distribution Accreditation Scheme (MDAS), which aims to benchmark and raise standards among UK and international mailing firms.

As a member of the Press Distribution Forum (PDF) we are committed to maintaining a diverse and plural press with its widespread availability to retailers and consumers.

Press Freedom

The PPA plays an important role in protecting press freedom, promoting pluralism and diversity, and ensuring that the UK’s periodical press industry remains competitive and vibrant.

Moreover the PPA support industry self-regulation free from state control, backed up by an equitable and balanced legal framework. As part of this work, we monitor any Government plans or legislation to regulate social media or digital platforms that could pose a danger to freedom of speech, press freedom or journalistic or editorial content.

The PPA encourages all publishers to join the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), which was established by the industry following the Leveson Inquiry as a tough and independent regulator in which consumers and publishers can have confidence.

Magazine Retailing

PPA provides an opportunity for retailers to collaborate with publishers in the promotion of the magazine category and to drive copy sales. PPA celebrates retail excellence with the annual PPA Retailer of the Year Award and works with both independent and national retailers to design and implement a broad range of industry projects. These projects focus on a range of areas including the supply chain, retail promotions, communication and research.