Home' The Channel Magazine : National Newsagent September 2012 Contents Conversations
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National Newsagent asked
ANF CEO Alf Maccioni about
the challenges, benefits and
success of the 2012 National
NN Another year, another conference—
was it a success?
AM It was a success in terms of the
delegates who attended. The feedback
was 90% positive. They appreciated the
speakers, the networking and appeared to
feel positive about the potential for their
businesses. That there were not more
newsagents there to learn and benefit was
NN What sort of feedback did you get?
AM Agents and suppliers love the chance
to network. They loved John Lees, the
social networking session, Amanda
Stevens. Each delegate got different
NN Any criticisms?
AM That the panel session was too
structured and there were no mints on the
table! There are always some speakers
who are better than others. We always
want to see more newsagents attend.
NN The perennial wish from suppliers is
to see more newsagents there, how can
you achieve that?
AM With current pressures and attitudes,
I am not sure in its current structure
that we can attract more. For the work
and expense that goes into a conference,
I don’t think it can be considered a
successful outcome if only a small
percentage of newsagents attend. It is not
worth the investment of time and money.
We have to change what we do... find a
NN Is it important for the image of the
industry to facilitate a national agenda?
AM The national agenda is vital—it is
where we can leverage many things for
I think we can promote the industry
more effectively in other ways. Everyone
has a part to play here from the individual
newsagents to the marketing groups,
suppliers and national publishers.
This 4000 strong newsagency channel
is unique. It has huge potential. We need
to harness it more effectively. I believe we
need to have an all-encompassing, truly
national industry conference that includes
every marketing group and every major
player in the industry. Only then can we
show the strength of the entire industry.
Only then will suppliers, politicians,
marketers etc see how big, how powerful
this channel is. It was highlighted at the
panel discussion when big companies like
News Limited, ACP, Pacific, GNS were
asked how important newsagents were
to their business. Each one said VERY
important; their businesses depended on
it! It showed how critical it is to keep this
national channel of independent retailers.
NN But would competing marketing
groups agree to participate in a national
AM I don’t know. I haven’t approached
them yet. But I think they will be able
to see how it would make the channel
stronger and therefore their group
stronger. We can’t afford to lose the
recognition that the channel has had in
the past. We wouldn’t hold an event every
NN Perhaps marketing groups could
combine it with member meetings or
AM They could. There are three levels
here. The big picture—and that is what
the ANF promotes and keeps front of
mind for policy makers, then there
are the marketing groups and the
individual agents. They are all part of
this ‘industry’—like a state or a region,
they have more strength when part of a
NN So what do you see happening next
year in regards to networking?
AM It is more convenient for newsagents
to attend local meetings, marketing group
meetings or a one day state conference.
These events are important.
But every now and then, maybe once
every two or three years, we could look
at the big picture, the commonalities and
ways we can compete with the big chains,
keep front and centre of consumers’
minds, attract the national distribution of
products, whatever it may be.
NN What about the Newsagent of the
AM The awards program is very important
and this could be celebrated at a very
classy annual awards dinner. Perhaps
with a one day program that would enable
intimate, networking opportunities with
the industry leaders.
NN So what next for the industry?
AM In terms of conferences, I will talk to
the stakeholders, see what they think and
try to devise a better way.
For the industry as a whole, it looks
like being tough for another 12 months. I
am heartened to see the good operators
hanging in there. I believe we may lose
some of the poorer operators who have
not kept up with change. At the conference
one of the constant themes and topics of
discussion was how to manage change
and that’s what we will all be working on.
The ANF with the support of the states is
working on projects to try to bring more
money into ALL of the industry.
I feel the tide is turning in
favour of the newsagents, we
are a huge retail footprint
and a massive distribution
channel, we need to
promote ourselves better
to potential new partners
and the consumer. They
who are not only
willing to change
but to change
our offering to
National Newsagent September 2012
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