Newsagents – not a protected species

Alf Maccioni, CEO Australian Newsagents’ Federation has responded on behalf of the industry to Mark Day’s comments in The Australian, Monday 6 February.

In commenting on the plans of News Limited’s CEO Kim Williams to overhaul News Limited, Mark Day said Williams sees a need to reinvent the way newspapers are delivered and sold, which means a new approach to relationships with the newsagency business — protected from competition for more than half a century.

Mr Maccioni wrote:

In Monday’s Australian News Limited’sMark Day has made some inaccurate statements about the newsagency channel, namely that it is a protected channel. Newsagents have not been protected since last century when the ACCC deregulated the industry.

Newspapers are sold everywhere from petrol stations to corner stores; they are given away at hotels and football matches and discounted heavily on subscription – direct to News Limited. Newsagents have no monopoly on the sales of newspapers.

The only thing that newsagents do have all to themselves is the home delivery of newspapers.They serve their customers and get the paper through, even though they make little money doing so.

Newsagents receive 25% of a cover price that in some cases have not risen for 10 years.

Newsagents are not protected; they are usedby News Limited to keep their print product distributed.

Kim Williams is right – there is a need to reinvent the way newspapers are delivered and sold—rewarding and recognising the people who do this will be part of the future of newspapers.

News Limited has been promising newsagents a ‘new distribution model’ – and newsagents are still waiting.

The newsagents of Australia welcome Mr Williams’ statement that newspapers are not dead, that it is a customer-focused business, and look forward to his reinvention of the way newspapers are sold and distributed.

Much can be done to boost newspaper sales and fresh thinking in News Limited is the way to go about it; not stale thinking that newsagents are somehow protected andneed to be deregulated.

As much as News Limited, Australian newsagents want newspapers to survive and prosper and will work to bring this about – but not for nothing. They too seek a fair and just reward.