Home' The Channel Magazine : National Newsagent May 2012 Contents National Newsagent May 2012
Coming from a telecommunications
background Chiang expected that the
deregulation of the newsagency industry in
1990 might follow a similar path to that of the
telecommunications industry just two years
However, the dynamics of the parties
involved were quite different. In the
telecommunications situation all parties had
an equal say. In the newsagency industry
the publishers hold most of the cards, the
consumer is important but it seems that
the newsagency channel is the somewhat
neglected cog in the wheel to get product to
market but with no real power to have the
highways and byways fixed to make for a more
“ I had expected that the transition from print
to digital would be a major focus of the industry
but did not expect the legacy problems that
had not been resolved since deregulation in
1990 or that NSW newsagents had not changed
significantly in 10 years. We still do not have a
level playing field to negotiate with suppliers.
“ The main issues in NSW are still the T2020
project and Smart change. It is clear that News
Limited and Fairfax are still looking for answers
but newsagents are in the dark about their
plans. It is difficult to guess what they might be.
“ It is no accident that Rupert Murdoch
appointed Kim Williams from Foxtel to
transition News Limited from hard copy to
digital. CEO of Fairfax Greg Hywood has clearly
signalled that Fairfax will make the transition as
fast as possible.
“ Newsagent have to embrace it,
acquire new skill sets and reinvent their
business models and retail environment.
The bulk of newsagents think the bulk
of their customers are the ones who
come into the stores but in a new world
the customers might never come into
the store but buy goods, services and
subscriptions online. Newsagents
may get trailing commissions like
the telecommunications industry.
Newsagents have to re-tool and re-think.
“ It is incumbent on all industry leaders
to articulate all possible futures and at
a recent strategy session we established
a set of possible futures and in 2012 we
need to present to newsagents so they can
consider all possibilities
How to implement
Step one is that newsagents have
to have an open mind and consider all
possibilities, old and new.
Step two is to work together. The
Achilles heel is the independence of the
individuals who make up the channel.
They like to do their own thing but we
need to band together to have strength to
“We have to look at the newsagency brand
and if it remains relevant if newspapers
and magazines cease to be significant in
the product mix. The new N brand is not
tied to the past like the old one; it is not
fully developed and has possibilities. The
marketing groups add strength to the
channel but they are not enough on their own
and the N brand must be bigger and national.
In concert with the ANF and State
Associations NANA is in the midst of
re-engagement with newspaper and
magazine publishers, lotteries, ACCC
and government to come up with a better
way to renegotiate for mutually beneficial
outcomes. We have a greater awareness
of legal, regulatory, commercial options
and seek a win/win/win solution.
In the past, newsagencies were focused
on newspapers, this is changing the world
over and Australian newsagents provide
a unique buffer to newspaper publishers
which are under pressure. Only in
Australia do they have this support system
that has seen fewer newspapers close
than has happened overseas. We have to
create a better business model.
Are you enjoying?
Yes, I am enjoying. It’s challenging. It was
unexpected that we were not sufficiently
tooled to address the problems.
PROFILE: CHIANG LIM
Chiang Lim was appointed Chief Executive Officer of NANA in 1 July
2011 and after nine months in the job, National Newsagent asked him
about his experiences so far. What did he expect? What did he find and
what might the future hold for the newsagency channel.
WRITE YOUR OWN OBITUARY—WHAT SORT OF USP ARE YOU?
You are a Unique Special Person.How would you
like to be remembered?
It’s an interesting question.
The founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffmman, is
notorious for his quirky management techniques.
He’s one of Facebook’s first backers; an unusual
recruiter who makes executives write their own
When you think about it, what would you write—
what would you like to have written? Best you set
about and achieve what you’d like to have noted on
your obituary. What USP are you?
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