The Government Communication Information System (GCIS) has gone into the publishing business in a big way. And they intend making money from it too, if a bid posted on its website is anything to go by.
A trawl through its website reveals that not only is it looking for any agency to sell advertising and co-ordinate distribution for its latest publication, Public Sector Manager, but it is also looking for a printer for Vuk’uzenzele magazine and a national and international media monitoring agency.
Agencies are invited to attend a briefing session on its latest publishing enterprise, Public Sector Manager, in Pretoria later this month. The magazine, says the GCIS bid document, is aimed at “middle and senior managers” working in the sector, and is “intended to meet the information needs of managers in government, State Owned Enterprises and Chapter 9 Institutions. The core focus of the magazine will be to showcase the good work that is produced by the work force in charge and also as a platform through which to share knowledge and best practices within the public sector”.
The magazine will be positioned as the only one of its kind catering for public sector/government managers and will be published under the payoff line: The magazine for public sector decision-makers.
Now GCIS is inviting proposals for certain services, but on a turnkey basis, from “reputed and professionally run agencies/publishing houses. The agency would need to sell advertising for the magazine on a revenue sharing basis, build the subscriber base for the magazine and distribute to the target audience.
But the winning agency will have to abide some onerous – and expensive – requirements. According to the bid document:
(a) The agency will be responsible for all expenses (excluding printing of the 10 000 copies for the first twelve editions) incurred by it in rendering the required services without any liability to GCIS.
(b) The agency will be responsible for its own courier, telephone, facsimile and other related expenses incurred in connection with the discharge of its responsibilities without any liability to GCIS.
(c) All revenues arising from sale of advertising space shall accrue to the agency, subject to a Guaranteed Amount payable to GCIS as shall be mutually agreed upon from year to year, commencing from year two, but not less than the amount indicated on the proposal.
(d) Subscription revenue, at rates mutually agreed to between GCIS and the successful agency/publishing house, advertising revenue and revenue generated from sales of the magazine shall be used to wholly cover the printing and distribution costs for the magazine.
(e) The agency/publishing house will guarantee GCIS a Minimum Guaranteed Amount per annum to be payable by Demand Draft drawn in favour Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)
(f) The successful agency/publishing house will be required to submit audited financial statements on all revenues raised in relation to the magazine.
(g) In the first year, the successful agency/publishing house will be required to submit preliminary statement half way through the year (first six editions) on all advertising sales accrued for the period under review.
(h) For the second and third year of the contract, the successful agency/publishing house s will be expected to submitted fully audited statements annually.
“Magazine publishing, and that includes custom publishing, is difficult enough without such added and onerous requirements. There are publishers who don’t give a damn about credible content or whether people will read the magazine. They are the high-flying ad sales pushers. This type of project will suit that business model,” says Sandra Gordon, CEO of Wag the Dog publishers.
Public Sector Manager will feature columnists, interviews with political principals and senior public sector officials, and some lifestyle articles such as business travel, leisure travel, vehicles, food and drink, style, real estate and health. The rest of the editorial content will contain need-to-know features, news, profiles of government and public sector executives, articles on examples of public sector innovation and topical editorials from government ministers and policy analysts. The magazine will also keep readers up-to-date with the latest conferences and exhibitions by featuring in depth previews to the most important public sector events.
GCIS will manage the editorial process including writing and sourcing editorial content as well as photographs and illustrations for the magazine. It will also be responsible for the design and layout of the magazine.
The agency selected must have five experience in contract publishing with a solid record in generating advertising revenue of not less than R15 million per annum.
A briefing session is being held in Pretoria on February 17. It will take place at GCIS, 1st floor Auditorium, 356 Midtown Building, corner Prinsloo and Vermeulen Streets from 10am – 12pm.