Home' The Channel Magazine : August 2010 Contents National Newsagent August 2010 19
Audiences are now more fragmented,
more demanding but engaging in all media.
NN: So you are confident about the
future of print?
RA: Yes, I believe that print will be a necessary
part of the mix for some time to come. It
is fundamentally important and relevant
that communities have a local and trusted
community hub. Newsagencies are probably
the last community network for sharing
content. Everyone in the content business
wants a vibrant newsagency channel.
NN: Newsagencies are under pressure
right now. How do you see them being in a
position to be this network in the future?
RA: It is important that communities have
a local, trusted channel. The historical
product range is threatened by new media
and we need to think about the channel.
The product range needs to include other
products and services.
NN: What will they be? Is PMP looking at
other product ranges?
RA: Absolutely. We're modeling, testing
new products -- the whole industry is
working out if the model we have is efficient
and valuable. Just this week NDD closed
leaving two players, not three -- the
changes are already happening. Mass
media is in decline and niche products are
growing which increases costs.
Newsagents shouldn't have to fix this
alone, it should be shared. We need a
collaborative approach -- every part of
the network is essential to the whole. This
is not only a newsagent problem, it's an
industry problem. It's a huge challenge.
NN: The solution?
RA: The solution is industry collaboration.
The ANF is important. It enables the network
to have a voice. It's not a union, but let me
use the analogy. Some people consider
unions to be disruptive. I disagree; unions
are an opportunity to be collaborative. I see
the ANF not as a union but as a vehicle to
get a voice to come to a consolidated view,
an aggregated position, to get resolutions.
It's easier dealing with one voice -- a shared
powerful voice -- with publisher collaboration.
I've had conversations recently with
many publishers around the importance
of the newsagency network and we
intend to do what we can do to ensure
the vibrancy of the network -- we need
to have these conversations and more
It needs to happen, we desire to do
that. When the dust settles from the GFC
and the restructuring we have all had to
do we will move on to those challenges.
NN: ANF represents all manner
of newsagents, some publishers/
suppliers are only interested in the top
performing agents. Is PMP interested
in more than the top 20%?
RA: You can't just focus on the top, we
benefit from the whole channel, we need
to differentiate where the support goes.
NN: One trend we can't control is the
trend of time poor people to one stop
shop at supermarkets.
RA: Not everyone is time poor; that is
only one segment of your customers.
Strategies emerge when you
understand the market segment that
you are trying to service.
Newsagency customers can be
segmented -- service needs to be offered
to each group of customers. They have
different reasons for shopping. You need
to understand where the customers fit
and develop strategies for each one.
PMP has developed strategies for its
retail customers. We see retail as nine
customer segments and have slightly
different strategies for each one. Agents
also understand that the people who
walk in the door have different needs and
develop strategies to satisfy all sectors.
This is where the ANF can help, through
training education, development and
consulting. This is valuable for industry.
We must be collaborative even more
in the future because the network is so
valuable. There are no winners or losers
-- it's all in.
NN: Do you see more collaboration in
RA: Yes, I talk to a lot of players. We have
all been busy dealing with our internal
responses to the economic challenges
of the GFC and now the time is right to
be more inclusive with all our distribution
NN: Convenience stores -- where do they
fit into your concept of the channel?
RA: Convenience stores still represent a
very small portion of magazine sales. The
model varies from location to location. It is
important for the local newsagent to build
a strong relationship with C-Stores in their
area to ensure the magazine category is
well managed and represented.
NN: Home delivery is very costly and
many agents are giving it away.
RA: Newspaper publishers are examining
as we speak how they can make it work.
They can't replicate the newsagency
network. It is so valuable and it has to work
NN: But newspaper publishers are still
reducing commissions to newsagents
and making it harder, driving them away
RA: That is short sighted and
unsustainable; the channel needs to earn a
fair margin. It's a real challenge and I don't
think anyone has the answers.
We are in the same boat and collaboration
will only occur if we have the hearts and
minds of the people involved -- I see a
preparedness to have that collaboration.
We need to create a focal point for
the industry such as an industry group
where all the parties can collaborate on
supporting this vital channel.
Through collaboration ideas come out
that no individual could have thought of.
The best ideas come from groups working
together. More is achieved. This is where
we must go next.
Even the new media can't replicate the old, it has to
be different. Audiences are now more fragmented,
more demanding but engaging in all media
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