WEDNESDAY, MAR. 7: A Publishing Division has been formed within the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce to help stem the tide of overseas companies selling advertising and taking more than $2 million out of the economy.
Joanne MacPhee, executive vice president for the Chamber, said: “The Chamber welcomes the formation of the Publishing Division as it serves to further engage our members.
“One of the key values to membership in the Chamber is the opportunity to network with industry peers and come together on matters of mutual interest.
Like all of our other Divisions, individual members are in competition with one another, but collectively they have the power to affect real change on behalf of their respective industry sectors, and we applaud our publishing members for uniting to form this new Division. This is what the Chamber is all about.”
Top of the agenda for the new Division is the determined effort to stem the tide of overseas publishers selling advertising to local businesses in Bermuda and then taking 100 per cent of the revenue out of the local economy.
Ian Coles, the spokesperson for the division, said; “Currently, several foreign-based companies are sending sales representatives into the local market to sell advertising in publications which are produced overseas and then shipped back to the island for distribution.
“We estimate that more than $2 million in advertising revenue leaves the island each year, with no substantive financial benefit to Bermuda. Some advertisers are not aware that they are supporting an overseas enterprise.
“These overseas publishers operate in direct competition to our companies, which pay local taxes, employ Bermudians, rent office space and do business with a myriad of local suppliers and utilities.”
“The Division has already lobbied the Ministry of Economy, Trade & industry to restrict work permits which allow overseas publishers to operate in Bermuda.
“The division also plans to launch a media campaign aimed at educating potential advertisers about the importance of spending their limited advertising budgets on local publications and in doing so, keep the money circulating in the local economy.
Independently, the members aim to actively lobby Government and others, to win publishing contracts currently being awarded to overseas providers.
Mr Coles said: “We are aware of a number of overseas publications currently being supported by Government and others, and at no time have the local publishing houses been given the opportunity to bid on these titles.
“All we are asking is that those currently contracting with overseas publications give the local publishers an opportunity to bid on the business. “
Local companies currently represented by the division are; Bermuda Media, Bermudian Publishing, Bermuda Press Holdings, MediaHouse/The Bermuda Sun, The Royal Gazette and Print Link.
Mr Coles said there are other printing and publishing companies in Bermuda which are not currently members of the Chamber and efforts are now underway to engage them in the process.