Home' The Channel Magazine : National Newsagent April 2015 Contents 28 National Newsagent - April 2015
Distribution of newspapers remains a challenge for most
newsagents as costs rise and demand falls. Remuneration for
delivery is not keeping pace with rising costs and distribution
is becoming unsustainable for many newsagents.
The need to separate retail and distribution becomes
more urgent to gain the necessary economies of scale and
opportunities that specialisation may provide.
Newsagents in each state have similar but also slightly
Many newsagents are frustrated that remuneration for
delivery has barely increased while their costs, such as
employee Award rates, insurance, fuel and maintenance,
continue to rise. News Corp counters that newsagents
are saving money as papers are delivered flat wrapped
and administration is minimal following the migration of
customers to News Corp, but agents say their costs are rising
much faster than inflation.
Metro newsagents complained that newsagents in other
states get at least double of what most metropolitan-only
newsagents in Adelaide are paid.
ANF-SA state manage Colin Shipton said News Corp has
increased retail prices to boost profit for their shareholders
and whilst retail agents benefit from the increased
commission, the distribution newsagent has seen their net
profit savaged, particularly on the weekends when there
used to be additional fees. This may be seen as an unfair
contract and the Office of the Small Business Commissioner
has received complaints and the ANF will work with
newsagents and the Small Business Commissioner to
endeavour to resolve the issue.
The issue of the costs of distribution against the very small
remuneration increases is causing grief to NT agents who
have at times considerable distances to cover.
Migration of all home delivery subscribers is now complete at
Fairfax’s two northern Tasmanian newspapers, The Advocate
and The Examiner. This has been a difficult, almost two
year process for newsagents. Fairfax still has to develop its
technology considerably more to bring its processes close to
the efficiencies newsagents had running their own systems
ANF-TAS state manager Ben Kearney said it is a positive
move that Fairfax has asked the ANF to assist with starting
a working group to plan for outcomes on these issues. This
group will hopefully discuss these and other issues like
marketing of home delivery and improving home delivery
viability in northern Tasmania including amalgamations and
separation of retail and home delivery.
Agents in southern Tasmania who deliver The Mercury
newspaper have given a lukewarm response to recent small
remuneration increases and to last year’s change to a fee
for service on home delivered papers. The relationship with
the publisher there remains strong though with support
to improve viability through newsagent led consolidation
CEO of the Newsagents Association of NSW and ACT,
Andrew Packham said that NSW did not have the historical,
assisted push from publishers toward specialisation that
occurred in other states and as such there are very few
large scale distribution businesses. He commented that
Sydney metro is a very expensive environment in which to
do business, the skills sets of agents are vastly different
and pockets of non-English speaking areas require different
He said the publishers must work with the channel to
produce the business case for the activity to continue and
that NANA is working with News Corp on a revised and
simplified distribution cost calculator.
In Victoria the disappointment with the recent results of the
News Corp remuneration review continues.
VANA chairman, Gerard Munday said VANA conducted an
extensive membership involved program to assist News
Corp in understanding the real cost of distributing its
product. The result of this was a comprehensive submission
presented to News Corp Victorian senior executives in early
February. Unfortunately once again, they have chosen to
ignore this input and go with a next-to-nothing increase.
“VANA is continuing discussions with News Corp in an effort
to get them to understand the network desperately needs
investment, at the same time being mindful of the pressures
on circulation. VANA believes the opportunity is there to
think outside the square for other opportunities and to
increase the margins for distribution contract holders. These
Remuneration is not
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