Select Committee on Science and Technology Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 60 - 63)



  Q60  Chairman: We are seeing Reed Elsevier next. How do your companies compare with them? Are they the giants in the land?

  Mr Campbell: They are the largest in terms of market share. We would claim that we are growing faster. It is a competitive market.

  Q61  Chairman: What about your policies? Do they diverge or converge with each other? Why are they so good and you are so useless at getting the market?

  Mr Campbell: Chairman, that is an unfair remark.

  Q62  Chairman: Nothing is unfair in this place, as you well know.

  Mr Campbell: I think we are growing market share faster than they are. It is a lively market and if there is scope to take market share from Elsevier we will.

  Dr Jarvis: At the end of the day authors decide where they submit their material. If Elsevier win some, we win some.

  Mr Campbell: We would say that we won against them last year. Five journals were moved from Elsevier to Blackwell. The societies decided to move.

  Chairman: They are big-hearted guys.

  Q63  Paul Farrelly: You seem to be thoroughly relaxed about the effects of increasing concentration. From time to time there is speculation about Walters Klawer joining Reed Elsevier. Would you be very relaxed about that or would you go kicking and screaming to the regulatory authorities and, if so, why?

  Dr Jarvis: If you compare our industry to the aircraft industry, it is not consolidated. Between Elsevier, Blackwell, Macmillan, Wiley and Springer—I think we come up to about 35% of the total market. There is an enormous piece which is not in this room, and so I do not quite know why it is such a consolidated industry when you see companies like Boeing and Airbus and those kinds of industries. That does seem a fairly tight market. I am not quite sure where this market dominance idea comes from. We have a very long tail to our industry.

  Mr Charkin: I do not think when the last big merger between Harcourt and Reed Elsevier happened that we felt it was not in the interests of competition because it is a hugely fragmented business and we all compete in different ways. Some compete by being very author-friendly, some are more aggressive in the marketing, some add value in the technology, and we make up our own policies as we go along and we hope to do as good a job as possible.

  Dr Jarvis: We compete a lot around individual journals. We want the best cardiology journal, the best physics journal. Sometimes we have and other times one of our competitors does. It does not feel like a consolidated industry when you are out there, I can assure you.

  Chairman: On that note, that you do not bug each other's board meetings, can I say thank you very much for kicking us off. You are very welcome to stay for the next session.

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Prepared 20 July 2004